Blinken reaffirms commitment to two-state solution in call with Abbas

PA President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that the United States pressure Israel to stop its "crimes against the Palestinian people."

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL/REUTERS, REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL/REUTERS, REUTERS)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.

“The Secretary discussed joint efforts to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people and enhance their security and freedom,” the State Department said in a statement.

Blinken “further reaffirmed our commitment to a two-state solution,” and “underscored his deep concern over the situation in the West Bank, including heightened tensions, violence, and loss of both Palestinian and Israeli lives, and emphasized the need for all parties to de-escalate the situation urgently,” the statement reads.

According to the news report, Blinken told Abbas the US administration was making efforts to calm the situation.

Blinken expressed his concern over violence in West Bank

The call with Abbas comes day after a conversation the Secretary of State had with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. In the call, he “commended Israel for its free and fair elections, and to thank the Prime Minister for his partnership,” said the State Department.

 Palestinian youth clash with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 28, 2022.  (credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90) Palestinian youth clash with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 28, 2022. (credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)

“The Secretary reaffirmed the strength of the US-Israel bilateral relationship,” and also “emphasized his deep concern over the situation in the West Bank, including heightened tensions, violence, and loss of both Israeli and Palestinian lives, and underscored the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation,” the State Department said.

More than 100 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces this year, in what the United Nations said is set to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005, when the organization began tracking fatalities.

A string of fatal street attacks by Palestinians has killed 20 people in Israel and Israeli settlements, and four members of Israel's security forces have also been killed this year.

Blinken also commended Israel for its free and fair elections and "reaffirmed the strength of the US-Israel bilateral relationship," the spokesperson's statement said.

Israel's fifth election in less than four years confirmed a comeback for Netanyahu, now buoyed by smaller ultranationalist and religious parties. His victorious bloc includes lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, a West Bank settler and former member of Kach, a Jewish militant group on Israeli and US terrorist watchlists.

While Washington has publicly reserved judgment pending the new Israeli coalition's formation, the State Department spokesperson on Wednesday emphasized the countries' "shared values."