In Ramallah Meeting With Abbas, Blinken Calls for Deescalation
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel and the Palestinians to “deescalate,” “stop violence” and “reduce tensions” as a first step toward a restored dialogue during an appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday. Blinken first offered condolences “for the innocent Palestinians civilians who have lost their lives in the last year,” without specifically mentioning the death of at least eight Palestinians in Jenin during an Israeli arrest raid on Thursday.
He said that Israelis and Palestinians are both facing “growing insecurity, growing fear in their homes and their communities and in their places of worship.”
Blinken said that the United States has been working to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, and announced a new $50 million allocation to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on top of the $ 890 million dollars it has already pledged or provided.
He also told Abbas that he “appreciate(s) your consistent and resolute stance against terrorism.”
In his remarks, Abbas said that the Palestinians “affirm that the Israeli government is responsible for what’s happening these days because of its practices that undermine the two-state solution and already signed agreements.” He called on the United States and the international community to “provide international protection to our people.” Abbas also called out the “lack of international effort to dismantle the occupation” and the failure to recognize a Palestinian state as a full-fledged member of the United Nations.
Blinken met with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, after meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other Israeli officials on Monday. Blinken arrived in Israel on Monday from Egypt, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.