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Blinken calls for calm as he arrives in Tel Aviv amid rise in Israeli-Palestinian tensions

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has called for Israel and the Palestinians to ease tensions as he arrived in Tel Aviv amid escalating violence in the region.

“It is the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” Mr Blinken said.

Speaking on his arrival in Israel following a brief visit to Egypt, Mr Blinken said he had come at “a pivotal moment”.

The latest spate of violence erupted last week with an Israeli military raid on a militant stronghold in the West Bank city of Jenin, which left 10 people dead.


It was followed by the shooting in an east Jerusalem Jewish settlement that killed seven Israelis.

Referring to Friday’s attack that killed seven people, many of whom were leaving a Jerusalem synagogue, Mr Blinken said: “To take an innocent life in an act of terrorism is always a heinous crime but to target people outside their place of worship is especially shocking.

“We condemn it in the strongest terms. We condemn all those who celebrate these and any other acts of terrorism that take civilian lives no matter who the victim is or what they believe.

“Calls for vengeance against more innocent victims are not the answer. And acts of retaliatory violence against civilians are never justified.”

Read more:
Why this is a dangerous moment for Israel and the West Bank
Netanyahu vows to strengthen settlements

Mr Blinken said it is imperative for both sides to work to de-escalate tensions amid what he called “a new and horrifying surge in violence”.

He added such efforts would be the “only way to halt the rising tide of violence that has taken too many lives”.

On Monday, shortly before Mr Blinken’s arrival, the Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man in the flashpoint city of Hebron.

The death brings the toll of Palestinians killed in January to 35.


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