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Blinken meets with Netanyahu amid Israeli-Palestinian violence

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel during a "pivotal moment" in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 30, 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel at what he called a "pivotal moment," during a surge in Israeli-Palestinian violence in the first weeks of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government. 

"It's the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them, to work toward a day when people no longer feel afraid in their communities, in their homes and their places of worship. That is the only way to halt the rising tide of violence that has taken too many lives, too many Israelis, too many Palestinians," Blinken said. 

The latest violence erupted after months of Israeli raids in the West Bank following a series of Palestinian attacks last spring. Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold in the West Bank town of Jenin Thursday. 10 Palestinians were killed including eight militants and two civilians. 

The Palestinian Authority suspended security cooperation with Israel. The next evening, a Palestinian gunman killed seven Israeli civilians outside a synagogue in Jerusalem, before police fatally shot him. 

Israeli police sealed off the gunman’s Jerusalem home. 

Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire after deadly West Bank raid

Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire after deadly West Bank raid

The flare-up in violence casts a shadow on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's expected trip to the region next week.


And the National Security Minister ordered the demolition of illegally built Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in response to the attack. 

Blinken warned against escalating reactions. 

"Calls for vengeance against more innocent victims are not the answer. And acts of retaliatory violence against civilians are never justified," Blinken said. 

After a meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken underscored Washington’s support of a two-state solution to resolve the conflict. 

Talks on that stalled in 2014, and members of Netanyahu’s current cabinet reject it. Netanyahu referred to the Abraham accords, which normalized diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain as a pathway to peace. 

"I also believe that expanding the circle of peace, working to close finally the file of the Arab-Israeli conflict I think would also help us achieve a workable solution with our Palestinian neighbors," Netanyahu said. 

Blinken is set to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday.