World Politics

U.S. sends diplomat to try to calm Israel-Palestinian violence

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Key Points
  • "I have asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr to go to the region immediately to meet with Israelis and Palestinians … he will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President (Joe) Biden, a de-escalation of violence," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
  • Israel said it killed 16 members of the Hamas military wing in a air strike on Gaza on Wednesday and Palestinian militants rained rockets into Israel as global concern mounted over their most intense hostilities in years.
Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021.
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa | REUTERS

The United States is sending a diplomat to urge Israelis and Palestinians to calm "harrowing" violence, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, saying Israel had a particular responsibility to avoid civilian casualties.

"The images that came out overnight are harrowing," Blinken said. "I have asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr to go to the region immediately to meet with Israelis and Palestinians … he will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President (Joe) Biden, a de-escalation of violence."

Israel said it killed 16 members of the Hamas military wing in a air strike on Gaza on Wednesday and Palestinian militants rained rockets into Israel as global concern mounted over their most intense hostilities in years.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a news conference to announce the annual International Religious Freedom Report at the State Department in Washington, on May 12, 2021.
Andrew Harnik | AFP | Getty Images

Blinken said both sides must reduce violence. He drew a distinction between "a terrorist organization, Hamas, that is indiscriminately raining down rockets in fact targeting civilians, and Israel's response, defending itself."

However, he placed a particular responsibility on Israel, saying "I think Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything they possibly can to avoid civilian casualties, even as it is rightfully responding in defense of the people."