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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, the official WAFA news agency reported, after the first call since veteran Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu led a far-right coalition to victory in general elections.
Abbas reiterated his demand that the United States put pressure on Israel to stop its “crimes against the Palestinian people,” according to the WAFA report, “including blockades, extrajudicial killings, house demolitions and settlement construction.”
According to the news agency, Blinken told Abbas that the US administration is making efforts to calm the situation.
On Thursday, Blinken expressed his concern about the violence in the occupied West Bank in a telephone conversation with outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and “underscored the urgent need for all parties to de-escalate the situation,” a US State Department spokesman said. statement.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year, in what the United Nations says will be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005, when the organization began tracking deaths.
A series of deadly street attacks by Palestinians in Israel and Israeli settlements have killed 20 people, and four members of the Israeli security forces have also been killed this year.
Blinken also praised Israel for its free and fair elections and “reaffirmed the strength of the US-Israeli bilateral relationship,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Israel’s fifth election in less than four years confirmed the return of Netanyahu, who is now favored by smaller ultra-nationalist and religious parties. His winning alliance includes lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, a West Bank resident and former member of the Jewish group Kach, which is on Israeli and US terror watch lists.
While Washington is publicly reserving judgment pending the formation of a new Israeli coalition, a State Department spokesman on Wednesday emphasized the countries’ “shared values.”
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Henriette Chakar Editing by David Gregorio)
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