U.S. involved over Israeli raid forward of Blinken go to By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks throughout a go to to NASA headquarters with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and different U.S. and Japanese officers (not pictured) in Washington, U.S., January 13, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Mi


By Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Washington is anxious the safety scenario between the Israelis and Palestinians may worsen forward of a go to to the Center East by Secretary of State Antony Blinken beginning on Sunday, a U.S. official stated, after a lethal raid by Israeli forces within the occupied West Financial institution on Thursday.

The highest U.S. diplomat will journey to Egypt, Israel and the West Financial institution amid spiraling tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

The go to was introduced simply hours after Israeli commandos killed seven gunmen and two civilians within the occupied West Financial institution, in response to Palestinian officers, the most important single loss of life toll in years of preventing.

The highest U.S. State Division official on the Center East, Barbara Leaf, stated the reported civilian deaths have been “fairly regrettable.”

“After which clearly there’s the potential for issues to worsen in safety phrases,” Leaf instructed reporters on a phone briefing, including she had spoken a number of occasions to U.S. ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides, in addition to to Israeli and Palestinian officers, on Thursday morning.

The US was urging de-escalation and coordination between Israeli and Palestinian safety forces, Leaf stated, even because the Palestinian authority stated it was ending cooperation with Israel within the wake of the raid.

Blinken’s go to is his first since Netanyahu’s new right-wing authorities got here to energy after elections in November, stirring concern at dwelling and overseas given some coalition members’ opposition to Palestinian statehood and different hard-line views.

Saying Blinken’s go to, the State Division stated that in conferences with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken will talk about the significance of a two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, amongst different points.

Division spokesperson Ned Worth stated in an announcement that Blinken would additionally talk about the significance of upholding the established order across the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, the place a go to by Itamar Ben-Gvir, the brand new far-right safety minister, just lately stirred outrage amongst Palestinians. The decades-old established order permits solely Muslim worship on the compound, a website additionally revered by Jews.

Blinken’s journey comes on the heels of a go to by White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan to Israel final week, the place he mentioned the conflict in Ukraine and issues over U.S. regional adversary Iran’s help for Russia’s invasion by means of the availability of drones.

Whereas Israel has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has restricted its help to Kyiv to humanitarian assist and protecting gear.

In Cairo, Blinken will meet with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and different Egyptian officers, geared toward strengthening the 2 international locations’ strategic partnership and bolstering their shared help for elections in Libya and talks to type a civilian authorities in Sudan after a 2021 navy coup, Worth stated.

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