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Blinken meets Palestinian leader as Israel keeps bombing Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,(R), in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Jan. 10, 2024   -  
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Evelyn Hockstein/AP

West Bank

The U.S. Secretary of State met with the President of the Palestinian National Authority on Wednesday (Jan. 10). It’s his fourth Mid-east tour since the Israeli Palestinian conflict flared up again.

Antony Blinken is set to seek governance reforms while he meets with the head of the Palestinian authority Mahmoud Abbas. The U.S. top diplomat tries to rally the region behind postwar plans for Gaza which should include concrete steps toward a Palestinian state.

The approach faces serious obstacles tough and Blinken is aware of it.

On Tuesday (Jan. 09) he said "Israel must stop taking steps that undercut Palestinians' ability to govern themselves effectively"; emphasising the importance of progress towards a two-state solution.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is adamantly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state neighbouring Israel.

Israel's Gaza post-war plan unveiled on Jan. 04 didn't include a political solution for all of Palestine.

Mahmoud Abbas whose government exercises limited rule in occupied West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel has recently reaffirmed that Gaza is an integral part of the Palestinian State.

Blinken says he has secured commitments from multiple countries in the region to assist with rebuilding and governing Gaza after Israel’s war against Hamas.

During his visit to the West Bank on Wednesday (Jan. 10), the U.S. Secretary of State also met with the secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the party of late Yasser Arafat. 

Arafat, the first president of the Palestinian National Authority won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Israeli statesmen Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.

Demonstrators protested in Ramallah (West Bank) against the visit of Antony Blinken on January 10. 

On Dec.29, the U.S. State Department said that the Secretary of State had told Congress that "he had made a second emergency determination covering a $147.5 million sale for equipment, including fuses, charges and primers, that is needed to make the 155 mm shells that Israel has already purchased function."

The Israeli army has killed 23,357 Palestinians and wounded more than 59,000, according to an update Wednesday from the Health Ministry in Gaza. 

About two-thirds of the dead are women and children, health officials say. 

The death toll does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

The latest war in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took some 250 people hostage on October 7.

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