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Blinken calls for ‘urgent’ reduction in settler violence in occupied West Bank

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel to take urgent steps to reduce tensions in the occupied West Bank.

During a phone call with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s decision-making War Cabinet, Blinken said “there is an urgent need for positive steps to reduce tensions in the West Bank, including confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence.” According to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Miller said Blinken and Gantz “discussed efforts to increase and accelerate the transit of critical humanitarian assistance to Gaza.”

Blinken also spoke about ongoing diplomacy toward the release of hostages taken by Hamas militants during attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Hamas is defined as a terrorist organization by the European Union, as well as the United States, Israel and other countries.

According to the United Nations, this year was the deadliest for West Bank residents in at least 15 years; approximately 200 Palestinians and 26 Israelis were killed.

But in just three weeks since the deadly attack on October 7, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank. Clashes with soldiers caused most deaths.

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