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May 11, 2021 3:30 pm

Blinken Urges De-Escalation Between Israel and Palestinians, Immediate Halt to Rocket Attacks

avatar by i24 News

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks during a NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

i24News – The US State Secretary Antony Blinken called for de-escalation from both Israel and Palestinians on Tuesday amid the ongoing Gaza flare-up.

“All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down,” Blinken said ahead of his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi.

The top US diplomat strongly condemned the rocket attacks from Hamas, calling for their immediate halt, and affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens.

He also praised Israel over the moves taken to defuse the situation, including re-routing a contentious rally on Jerusalem day and postponing a Supreme Court hearing on a flashpoint evictions case in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

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Safadi, for his part, warned that Jerusalem, where Palestinian rioters have been clashing with Israel Police, is a “red line” for the state.

He called for an immediate end to the escalation and a halt to “illegal, provocative measures” against Sheikh Jarrah residents.

According to earlier reports in the Israeli media, Jerusalem had rejected earlier Hamas pleas for a ceasefire in the ongoing flare-up.

The IDF jets have been conducting airstrikes in Gaza in retaliation for some 630 launches at Israel, including 150 failed ones.

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