Blinken urges Israel, Palestine to de-escalate tensions.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israelis and Palestinians not to escalate tensions amid the recent surge of violence in the Palestinian territories, as he arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” the top U.S. diplomat said after landing at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen welcomed Blinken upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport.

During his two-day stay, Blinken will also visit the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian officials.

Blinken is the third high-ranking U.S. official to visit the region since the formation of the current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month after U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and CIA Director William Burns.

According to the State Department, Blinken will discuss with Israeli officials the enduring U.S. support for Israel’s security, particularly against threats from Iran.

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The talks will also take up Israel’s deepening integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, and a range of other global and regional issues.

In the West Bank, Blinken will meet with Palestinian President Abbas and senior officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, political reforms, and further strengthening the U.S. relationship with the Palestinians.

At least seven Israelis were killed in a shooting attack near a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem Friday night, a day after nine Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

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