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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Blinken Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Two-State Solution to Middle East Problem

On Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, visiting Jerusalem, called on Israelis and Palestinians to defuse tensions. Blinken reaffirmed US support for a Middle East settlement plan involving mutual recognition of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as “the only way” forward.

Blinken condemned the tragic shooting at an East Jerusalem synagogue, where a gunman killed at least seven people and injured ten others last Friday. This incident was the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel in recent years. The assailant was killed by the police on the spot.

A day earlier, the Israeli army attacked the Jenin refugee camp in the Palestinian Authority.

Ten Palestinian militants were shot in the raid.

“Each side has an obligation to take action to reduce tensions, not fuel them,” Blinken told reporters.

He called the terror attack in the synagogue an attack not just on individuals, but on a person’s “universal right” to profess their faith.

“We condemn this in the strongest terms,” ​​Blinken said. “And at the same time, we condemn all those who glorify these terrorist acts and any other terrorist act that kills innocent people, regardless of the victim or (whatever) these people believe. The calls for revenge on even more innocent victims are not the answer.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Blinken met on Monday, urged his fellow citizens to carry arms as a precaution against street attacks. Netanyahu also urged Israelis not to resort to lynching.

On Tuesday, the head of the State Department meets with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian Authority officials said Israeli settlers set fire to two cars near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Monday and threw stones at a house near Ramallah, following an attack similar on Sunday.

Moreover, according to statements from the Palestinian side, the Israeli army killed a 26-year-old man at a checkpoint. In turn, representatives of Israel said that their military opened fire on the car, the driver of which crashed into one of the military vehicles, after which he tried to escape from inspection .

The last round of negotiations led by the United States to resolve the conflict in the Middle East through the creation of a Palestinian state coexisting peacefully with Israel ended in 2014 without results.

In the new, most right-wing in the country’s history, the government of Israel, some members of the Cabinet of Ministers oppose a Palestinian state.

On the other hand, control of the Palestinian territories is shared between Mahmoud Abbas, who advocates a diplomatic solution to the problem, and Islamist rivals Hamas, who have sworn to destroy Israel.

After meeting Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s belief that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve the conflict.

“As I told the Prime Minister, anything that strays from this approach, in our view, is detrimental to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity as a Jewish and democratic state. “, said the head of the State Department. .

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