US backs two-state solution in call to Palestinian leader

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department said Saturday.

The move came as Israel’s hawkish former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has not endorsed the two-state idea, sealed his return to power following Tuesday’s election and launched negotiations on forming what could be the most right-wing government in Israel's history.

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In a call with Abbas on Friday, Blinken “further reaffirmed our commitment to a two-state solution,” the State Department said in a statement.

Blinken and Abbas also discussed “joint efforts to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people and enhance their security and freedom.”

The election result came against the backdrop of soaring violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Israeli army said its fighter jets early Friday targeted a rocket manufacturing site in the blockaded Gaza Strip, in response to several rockets fired toward Israel.

On Thursday four Palestinians, including an assailant, were killed by Israeli forces in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Blinken “underscored his deep concern over the situation in the West Bank, including heightened tensions, violence, and loss of both Palestinian and Israeli lives, and emphasized the need for all parties to de-escalate the situation urgently,” according to the State Department.

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