Blinken held a telephone conversation this Thursday with Benny Gantz, an Israeli opposition leader who joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, to whom he “emphasized the urgent need to take concrete steps to calm tensions in the West Bank.” .
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also highlighted that Blinken addressed “increasing levels of violence by extremists.”
Blinken also spoke with Gantz about diplomatic efforts to free the Hamas hostages, numbering about 240 people.
In the West Bank – a Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel – more than 190 Palestinians have been killed by settlers and Israeli soldiers since October 7, the start of the war between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, according to data from the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The Israeli Army is increasing attacks and incursions in this territory, claiming to be responding to a “significant increase in terrorist attacks” in the West Bank with “more than 550 attempted attacks since the start of the war”.
In the West Bank, 490,000 settlers live among three million Palestinians. These colonies are considered by the UN to be illegal under international law.
Gantz, a retired centrist general, agreed to enter a war cabinet with Netanyahu.
The prime minister leads a coalition with far-right supporters who strongly support the colonization of the West Bank.
On October 7, fighters from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) — in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007 and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel — carried out an attack of unprecedented dimensions on Israeli territory. since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, causing 1,200 deaths, mostly civilians, around 5,000 injured and more than 200 hostages.
In retaliation, Israel declared a war to “eradicate” Hamas, which began with cuts to food, water, electricity and fuel supplies in the Gaza Strip and daily bombings, followed by a ground offensive that surrounded Gaza City.
The war between Israel and Hamas, which today entered its 41st day and continues to threaten to spread throughout the Middle East region, has so far resulted in 11,500 deaths in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, 29,800 injured, 3,250 missing under the rubble and more than 1.6 million people displaced, according to the most recent report from local authorities.
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