WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel’s leaders assured him they would confront the uptick in settler violence that is forcing Palestinians from their homes in the occupied West Bank.
Blinken returned to Tel Aviv on Friday amid a US push for humanitarian pauses in the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s military campaign has killed more than 9,200 people and wounded over 23,000, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. The Biden administration is seeking brief pauses in Israel’s military operations to facilitate the delivery of much-needed food, fuel and other aid to Gaza as well as the release of the hostages held by the militants.
After meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, Blinken warned that failure to protect Palestinian civilians risks playing into the hands of Hamas.
“The protection of civilians must take place not just in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, where incitement and extremist violence against Palestinians must be stopped,” Blinken told reporters.