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Abbas tells Blinken Israel must stop ‘crimes against Palestinians’

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has spoken with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas, the official WAFA news agency reported, in a first call after Israel’s veteran hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu led a far-right alliance to a general election victory.

Abbas reiterated his demand on Friday that the United States pressure Israel to stop its “crimes against the Palestinian people”, WAFA reported, “including blockades, extrajudicial killings, home demolitions, and settlement construction”.

Blinken told Abbas the US
administration was making efforts to calm the situation, it said. 

On Thursday, Blinken expressed his concern over spiralling
violence in the occupied West Bank in a call with outgoing
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and “underscored the need for
all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation,” a US
State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

Blinken also commended Israel for its free and fair
elections and “reaffirmed the strength of the US-Israel
bilateral relationship”, the spokesperson’s statement said.

READ MORE: US committed to ‘two-state solution’ between Israel, Palestine

Notorious far-right politician

Israel’s fifth election in less than four years confirmed a
comeback for hawkish Netanyahu, now buoyed by smaller ultranationalist
and religious parties.

His victorious bloc includes lawmaker
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an illegal West Bank settler and former member of Kach,
a Jewish militant group on Israeli and US terrorist

Ben-Gvir, a firebrand known for anti-Arab rhetoric and incendiary calls for Israel to annex the entire West Bank, has said he wants to be public security minister in the new government, a post that would put him in charge of the police.

In recent days, Ben-Gvir has called repeatedly for the security services to use more force in countering Palestinian unrest.

“It’s time we go back to being masters of our country,” Ben-Gvir said on election night.

In his youth, Ben-Gvir was charged more than 50 times for incitement to violence or hate speech. He boasts that he got off 46 times and studied law on the recommendation of judges, to learn how to defend himself.

“These are two sociopaths,” Palestinian analyst Noor Odeh said of the far-right leaders, whose sights are set on annexing the West Bank and ensuring Israel’s security services use more force in countering Palestinian unrest.

“The amount of cruelty that will be meted on Palestinians is definitely expected to rise.

“Is the world going to keep Netanyahu on a leash the way they would any other extreme right-wing government, or are they going to cover up for him and whitewash for him and what his cabinet does?” he asked.

Israel’s Netanyahu in talks to form ‘unprecedented’ right-wing government

Deadly year for Palestinians 

While Washington has publicly reserved judgment pending the
new Israeli coalition’s formation, the State Department
spokesperson on Wednesday emphasised the countries’ “shared

Britain called on “all Israeli parties to refrain from inflammatory language and demonstrate tolerance and respect for minority groups”, in a statement, just hours after rejecting suggestions by previous UK prime minister Liz Truss that its embassy in Israel could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

More than 120 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces this year, in what the United Nations says is set to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005, when the organisation began tracking fatalities.

A string of fatal street attacks by Palestinians has killed 20 people in Israel and illegal Israeli settlements, and four Israeli soldiers have also been killed this year.

READ MORE: Several Palestinians killed as Israeli far-right vows to impose order

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