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Palestinian Israeli conflict

Top US diplomat calls for respecting status quo of Jerusalem holy sites

At least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police on Friday inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

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The top US diplomat has stressed the need for all sides to respect the status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Antony Blinken made his remarks during a phone call on Monday with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, about the increasing tensions and violence in Jerusalem following Israeli attacks on Muslim worshippers.

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“Secretary Blinken emphasized the importance of upholding the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, and appreciation for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s special role as custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem,” a readout of the call said.

Blinken and Safadi also discussed the importance of Palestinian-Israeli talks to end the violence and refrain from actions that escalate tensions.

“The Secretary reaffirmed the US commitment to stability in the region and support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the State Department said.

At least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police on Friday inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israel alleges that men carrying Palestinian and Hamas flags were in the compound with rocks and stones. The violent clashes come at a sensitive time when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish Passover festival.

Last year, during Ramadan, similar violence broke out and sparked the biggest conflict in years between Hamas and Israel. The 11-day war was ended following intervention by mediators, including Egypt, Jordan and the US.

Read more: Analysis: Biden’s quiet diplomacy may work, but Middle East will ‘follow you home’

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