Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued urging all parties to de-escalate tensions and end violence in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The Secretary and the Prime Minister discussed the ongoing violence in Jerusalem, and the Secretary reiterated his call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence,” the State Department said in a statement referring to the call on Wednesday.
“The Secretary emphasised the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in safety and security, as well as enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as further saying.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr will travel to the region immediately to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Blinken told reporters earlier in the day.
“He will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President (Joe) Biden, a de-escalation of violence. We are very focused on this,” Blinken said.
The US remains committed to a two-state solution, he noted.
“This violence takes us further away from that goal.”
While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, the top US diplomat stressed that “Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casualties”.
At least 56 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip and six in Israel since Monday in the worst fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants since 2014.
The tension in Gaza started when the militants fired a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem in response to the clashes that broke out at al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police forces.