United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked Israel to take “urgent” steps to stop violence being carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
The top US diplomat made the call in a telephone call with Benny Gantz, a centrist opposition leader who joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wartime cabinet after Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel.
The State Department said in a statement on Thursday that Blinken stressed the urgent need for affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence.
The State Department added that Blinken also discussed efforts to augment and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, secure the release of captives held by Hamas, and prevent the war from widening into a broader conflict,
Blinken’s comments came as Israeli forces carried out fresh raids in the occupied West Bank and continued military operations in and around several of Gaza’s major hospitals, forcing them to suspend operations.