U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in the city of Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Blinken’s visit comes just days after the Palestinian Authority ended its security coordination with Israel, following a spate of killings by Israeli forces. In the latest violence, Israeli forces shot 26-year-old Palestinian Naseem Abu Fouda in the head Monday morning at a checkpoint in the occupied southern city of Hebron. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that so far this year Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed 35 Palestinians, including eight children and an elderly woman.
On Monday, Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where he reiterated that U.S. support for Israel remains “ironclad.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Throughout the relationship between our countries, what we come back to time and again is that it is rooted both in shared interests and in shared values. That includes our support for core democratic principles and institutions, including respect for human rights, the equal administration of justice for all, the equal rights of minority groups, the rule of law, free press, a robust civil society.”
Many of Blinken’s remarks were drawn word for word from previous State Department statements. His meeting with Netanyahu came just days after State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel refused to describe Palestinians in the West Bank as living under Israeli military occupation.