Blinken, Palestinian President Abbas meet to discuss peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on Tuesday. Photo by Palestinian President Press Office / UPI
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on Tuesday. Photo by Palestinian President Press Office / UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday to discuss de-escalating rising tension and reaching peace with Israel.

During meeting in the president's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas accused the Israeli government of being responsible for unrest in the region, stating that the nation has violated peace agreements by committing crimes against Palestinians.


"The continued opposition to the efforts of the Palestinian people to defend their existence and their legitimate rights in international forums and courts, and to provide international protection -- to provide international protection for our people -- is a policy that encourages the Israeli occupier to commit more crimes and violate international law," Abbas said.

The meeting comes days after a gunman, identified as Palestinian Khariri Alkam, opened fire at a synagogue in East Jerusalem, killing seven people.


Less than a week ago, Israeli forces stormed a Palestinian refugee camp to destroy the home of Udai Tamimi, the man accused of killing Israel Defense Force Sgt. Noa Lazar in October.

Abbas said Israel is not being held accountable by the international community. He suggested actions such as Israel withdrawing from territories agreed upon in the Arab Peace Initiative and recognizing an independent Palestine are the "main entry point" for resuming peace talks.

The president urged that the Palestinian Authority is ready to work with the United States and international partners to open a dialogue with Israel.

RELATED Israeli PM Yair Lapid calls for 'two-state solution' to Palestinian conflict at U.N.

"We have always shown commitment to the resolutions of international-led peace, renunciation of violence and terrorism and respect for signed agreements," Abbas said.

"Our people will not accept the continuation of the occupation forever, and the regional security will not be strengthened by violating the sanctity of the holy sites, downplaying on the dignity of the Palestinian people and ignoring their legitimate rights to freedom, dignity and independence."

Blinken offered condolences for Palestinians who have been killed in the violence, acknowledging that Palestinians and Israelis are facing an increased sense of instability. He said the first step forward is to de-escalate the tensions before mapping out a path to true peace.


"What we're seeing now from Palestinians is a shrinking horizon of hope, not an expanding one; and that, too, we believe needs to change," Blinken said.

Blinken discussed federal support the United States has dedicated to the Palestinian Authority, such as the $890 million contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. He announced the United States is contributing another $50 million to the project.

Like Abbas, Blinken condemned actions of terror, though he directed his statement toward both sides.

"This is a challenging time. I appreciate the president's determination to try to work through it in a responsible way that looks out for the lives of everyone, of Palestinians and Israelis alike," he said.

Blinken met with Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier in the day. He also emphasized the importance of equal opportunities and equal rights of Israelis and Palestinians in his conversation with Lapid. The meeting with Gallant centered around the U.S.-Israel allyship's efforts to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The secretary offered renewed condemnation of the terrorist attacks that Israel has endured in recent days," a press release from the U.S. State Department said.


"He also expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank, and emphasized the need for all parties to take steps to restore calm and de-escalate tensions."

Latest Headlines


Follow Us