Israeli-Palestinian tensions prompt Blinken to travel to the Middle East
The US secretary of state will emphasize “preserving the historic status quo” of the holy sites in Jerusalem, according to Washington.
DC (Washington) – In light of the nearly daily fatal Israeli raids against Palestinians and rising tensions surrounding Jerusalem’s holy sites, the Department of State has announced that top American diplomat Antony Blinken will go to the Middle East in the coming days.
In a three-day trip to Egypt, Israel, and the occupied West Bank beginning on Sunday, Blinken will speak about a “variety of global and regional objectives,” according to the State Department, including the Ukrainian conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government won office in late last year, the US secretary of state’s travel to Israel will be her first. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for the White House, earlier this month also traveled to Israel and the occupied West Bank.
The Secretary will emphasize to Israeli and Palestinian leaders “the urgent need for the parties to take efforts to deescalate tensions in order to put a stop to the cycle of bloodshed that has cost too many innocent lives,” according to a statement released by the State Department on Thursday.
He will also talk about how crucial it is to preserve the long-standing order on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, in both words and deeds.
Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-visit Gvir’s to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which was denounced as a “provocation” by Palestinian and Arab officials, caused tensions between Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peak earlier this month.
According to historical precedent, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam, is under the guardianship of the neighboring country of Jordan.
Since taking office, Netanyahu’s administration has publicly said that the occupied West Bank settlement project is its main priority. In the battle of 1967, Israel took control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
Since then, illegal settlements have been constructed by successive Israeli administrations in the occupied lands that the Palestinian Authority wants to serve as the location of a future Palestinian state.
Even while US President Joe Biden has expressed support for a two-state solution to the conflict, his government has been reticent to condemn Israeli abuses of Palestinians, particularly settlement activity.
According to the Department of State, Blinken will meet with key Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss “the necessity of a two-state solution.”
Ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Thursday at the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank during a massive raid.
The attack by Israel, which resulted in the death of an elderly Palestinian woman, was referred to as a “counterterrorism operation” by State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel.
Patel told reporters, “We condemn terrorist groups planning and carrying out atrocities against innocent civilians and recognize the very serious security problems facing Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
We are very worried about the West Bank’s spiraling cycle of violence and lament the deaths of innocent people and the harm it has caused to civilians.
The Biden administration has emphasized that its support for Israel will remain unwavering despite the rightward slant of the Israeli government, a view that Washington reaffirmed on Thursday.
At least $3.8 billion in US military aid is given to Israel each year, which top human rights organizations accuse of enforcing an apartheid system on Palestinians.
According to the Department of State, “Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and other top leaders in Israel to discuss the continued US support for Israel’s security, particularly against challenges from Iran.”
According to a release, Blinken will begin his journey in Egypt where he will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other important figures to “advance the US-Egypt strategic partnership and promote peace and security in the region.”