Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, and a senior Palestinian official have discussed the violence in the occupied West Bank. Gallant’s office said it has provided assurances that Israel’s goal is to suppress Jewish settler unrest.
The phone conversation and this announcement were an unusual event for Israel’s nationalist and religious government. The conversation also comes after the United States expressed concern about the situation in the West Bank, the areas where Palestinians live and seek to establish their own state in the future.
The United Nations Security Council called on Tuesday “for all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that would further inflame tensions” and called for de-escalation and avoidance of further escalation.
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During the council meeting, the US deputy/ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, said that Washington is working with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reduce tensions and restore trust, in an effort to create conditions for the parties to return to the negotiating table.
During a Hamas attack, four Israeli civilians were killed near a settlement in the West Bank. This event sparked several days of violence and incursions into Palestinian-inhabited villages and towns by groups of Jewish settlers. Twelve suspects have been arrested by Israeli police.
“Israel takes seriously the violence inflicted on Palestinian civilians in recent days by extremist elements,” Gallant was quoted as saying to Hussein Al-Sheikh, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
There is still no reaction from Al-Sheikh’s office.
In the past 15 months, Israeli forces have intensified raids on suspected Palestinian militants and will continue to conduct such operations, Gallant said.
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Also on Tuesday, the president of Israel, Isaac Herzog, spoke with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Israeli Presidency announced./ REL