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Blinken Calls Abbas After PA Leader Snubs Summit With Biden

(JNS) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, October 18 to proffer his “profound condolences” for the Palestinian lives lost when an errant terror rocket hit the courtyard of a hospital in Gaza City a day earlier.

According to a State Department readout, Blinken and Abbas also discussed “continuing U.S. efforts to coordinate the provision of urgent, life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, in tandem with partners, and efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading.”

The phone call came after Abbas canceled his participation in a planned peace summit on Wednesday with U.S. President Joe Biden over the false accusation that Israel targeted the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital.

In addition to Biden and Abbas, the summit in Jordan was to be attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan.

Meanwhile, Abbas ordered three days of mourning in Yehuda, Shomron and the Gaza Strip, and that PLO flags be flown at half-mast.

A White House official said that Biden had postponed his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting, after consulting with the Jordanian king and in light of the days of mourning that Abbas announced.

“The president sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the White House pool report continued. “He looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days.”

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