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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Antony Blinken, who began this morning an official visit to the Middle East beginning in Jerusalem, has called the "two-state solution" for Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) the "only way forward," while saying that "any steps" by the two sides that risk more conflict would harm its prospects.
"Two-state solution" is a term that refers to a prospect of Israel coexisting alongside an independent 'State of Palestine,' which Tel Aviv refuses to recognize along with other countries across the world.
Blinken expressed that the U.S. will "oppose" anything that could create more tensions between the two sides. “That includes settlement activity, it includes demolitions, it includes evictions, it includes incitement of violence, it includes payments to terrorists," the secretary of state said during the press briefing on Tuesday.
"Ultimately, there's a possibility of resuming the effort to achieve a two-state solution, which we continue to believe is the only way to truly assure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, and of course to give the Palestinians the state they're entitled to," Blinken argued.
During his visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah on 25 May, the U.S. State Secretary met with Israeli and PNA politicians to discuss the need to address conditions that fuel conflict in the region.
According to Blinken, Palestinian people, including those in the Gaza Strip, need a "renewed sense of optimism." He pledged the U.S. will provide $75 million in development aid to the PNA, and several more millions in relief support, making clear the U.S. intention that "Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance."
Blinken also revealed that the Biden administration was planning to re-open its consulate in East Jerusalem, shut down in 2017 by Trump when he recognized Jerusalem as the undisputed capital of Israel. This decision by the former U.S. president sparked outrage from Palestinians, who declare the western part of the city as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.
Blinken's visit comes shortly after an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire, which came into force on 21 May, ending an 11-day confrontation between Israel Defense Forces and the militant group, which holds de facto control over the Gaza Strip.
The conflict claimed over 200 Palestinian lives, a large percentage of those children, after massive shelling by the Israeli aviation of civilian sectors and military targets in the Gaza Strip. Hamas launched several attacks on Israeli enclaves, causing nearly a dozen casualties.