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The State Department sends an Israeli-Palestinian envoy amid an outbreak of violence



As part of that effort, Blinken said that Hady Amr, the deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing Israeli-Palestinian affairs, is being posted to the region to meet with senior leaders.

The foreign minister condemned rocket fire from militants who had joined Hamas and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks. However, he said Israel had “an added burden” in trying to avoid civilian casualties in its response.

“When we see children caught in the crossfire losing their lives, it has a big impact,” he said.

The hostilities between the two countries are the worst since 2014 and have shown little sign of easing.

The violence coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and a politically precarious time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Joe Biden had attempted to reduce the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in favor of other national security interests, an attitude that was increasingly criticized by members of Congress and other observers as the crisis worsened.

The conflict resulted from disagreements over access to holy sites and the possible displacement of several Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.

Blinken made the remarks when the State Department released this year’s report on religious freedom, which assesses the climate in nearly 200 countries.

The report released on Wednesday covers 2020, and it is not surprising that the effects of Covid-19, which resulted in extraordinary restrictions on religious life and other mass gatherings, are reflected throughout the document.

The report was particularly harsh on China and its treatment of Uyghur Muslims, which the State Department labeled “genocide” in late January, as one of the final acts of former Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo.

On Wednesday, Blinken announced the visa restriction for Yu Hui, a former Chinese official charged with “serious human rights violations,” particularly against members of the Falun Gong movement.

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