Monday, March 27, 2023

(JNS) Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas outlined a series of demands for Israeli concessions during a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31 with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah.

Abbas called on Washington to pressure Israel to forgo construction plans in Judea and Samaria, curb IDF counter-terrorism operations in Palestinian-controlled areas and cancel punitive measures imposed on the P.A. in response to its ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state.

Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the measures earlier this month after the U.N. General Assembly, at the urging of the P.A., passed a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

For his part, Blinken suggested that the “horizon of hope” for the Palestinians was shrinking and stressed the need for a two-state solution to end the conflict with Israel. He also emphasized the need for political reforms in the P.A.—which Abbas has led since the last presidential election was held in 2005—and called for strengthening the U.S. relationship with the Palestinian people and its leadership.

Blinken again made clear Washington’s desire for Israelis and Palestinians to “urgently” de-escalate tensions “in order to put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives.” Finally, he discussed the importance of upholding the religious status quo that guides interfaith relations and actions at holy sites in Jerusalem.

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