US Secretary of State in Israel: Blinken calls for de-escalation

Status: 01/30/2023 7:02 p.m

The situation in the Middle East remains tense. Also today there were clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. In Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Blinken called for “urgent steps” to curb the violence.

During his visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israelis and Palestinians to take immediate steps to calm the explosive situation in the region.

After meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Blinken said the goal remains that Palestinians and Israelis can “enjoy freedom, security, justice and dignity equally” in the future. The two-state solution is still the best way to do this. Any deviation from this vision will have long-term detrimental effects on both countries. The United States is therefore calling on all sides to “act urgently to de-escalate,” said Blinken.

Blinken’s visit to the region comes at a time of extreme tension. Netanyahu’s government – the most right-wing Israel has ever had – has been in office for just a month. Since then, the conflict with the Palestinians has once again dangerously escalated. Blinken is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow.

Clashes again today

On Friday, an armed Palestinian killed seven people in front of a synagogue in East Jerusalem. Another attack followed on Saturday, in which a 13-year-old Palestinian in East Jerusalem seriously injured two Israelis. Earlier on Thursday, ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank.

Today, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian driver in the occupied West Bank, officials from both sides said. According to the Israeli army, the car had previously hit a soldier. The 26-year-old died of “a gunshot wound to the head” inflicted by occupying soldiers “this morning in Hebron,” the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

Since the beginning of the year, 34 Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with the army or in their own attacks. Last year there were 172 – as many as last in 2006.

“The situation is extremely dangerous”, Sophie von der Tann, ARD Tel Aviv, on the situation in Israel

tagesschau24 09:00 a.m., 30.1.2023

Netanyahu’s Topics: Iran and the Abraham Accords

After meeting Blinken, Netanyahu did not mention the recent escalation of violence, but instead spoke of his hope for an expansion of the so-called “Abraham Accords” – normalization agreements with several Arab countries.

“Broadening the circle of peace; working to finally close the record on the Arab-Israeli conflict would also, I believe, help us reach a workable solution with our Palestinian neighbors,” Netanyahu said in his only mention of the Palestinians.

After their meeting, both Netanyahu and Blinken reiterated their continued refusal to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. “Just as Iran has long supported terrorists who target Israelis and others, the regime is now supplying drones that Russia uses to kill innocent Ukrainian civilians.” In return, Moscow is supplying Iran with state-of-the-art weapons, Blinken said.

Netanyahu said the international community has now “seen the true face of Iran, how it acts against its people and how it exports its aggression.” The US and Israel would do anything to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

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