politico – State Department sends Israeli-Palestinian envoy amid eruption of violence

As part of the effort, Blinken said Hady Amr, the deputy under secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, is being sent to the region to meet with senior leaders.

The secretary of state condemned the rocket fire by militants aligned with Hamas and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against such attacks. However, he said Israel had “an additional burden” to try to avoid civilian casualties in his response.

“When we see children caught in the crossfire losing their lives, it has a powerful impact,” he said.

Hostilities between the two countries are the worst since 2014 and have shown few signs of abating.

The violence straddled the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as well as a politically precarious period for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Joe Biden had sought to reduce the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in favor of other national security interests, a posture that has drawn growing criticism from members of Congress and others. observers as the crisis worsened.

The conflict stems from disagreements over access to holy sites and the potential expulsion of several Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.

Blinken made the remarks when the State Department released this year’s Religious Freedom Report, which assesses the climate in nearly 200 countries.

The report released on Wednesday covers 2020 and, unsurprisingly, the impact of Covid-19 – which precipitated extraordinary restrictions on religious life and other mass gatherings – is permeated throughout the document.

The report was particularly harsh on China and its treatment of Uyghur Muslims, which the State Department called “genocide” in late January as one of the latest acts of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On Wednesday, Blinken announced a visa restriction for Yu Hui, a former Chinese official accused of “gross human rights violations,” especially with regard to members of the Falun Gong movement.

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