Blinken makes unexpected stop in West Bank, meets with Palestinian leaders

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday. Blinken traveled to Ramallah following a visit to Tel Aviv and Amman, where he had talked about the Israel-Hamas conflict including efforts to secure the immediate release of hostages and humanitarian assistance entering Gaza, the State Department said. Photo by Alaa Badarneh/EPA-EFE/POOL

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders.

Blinken spoke with Abbas about the efforts to reduce civilian casualties, get more humanitarian aid into the area and "efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those accountable responsible," according to a U.S. State Department readout.

"Secretary Blinken reiterated that the United States remains committed to advancing equal measures of dignity and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike," State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said. "The secretary also expressed the commitment of the United States to working toward the realization of the Palestinians."

Abbas called for the war to end immediately and urged increased humanitarian aid, Kuwaiti state-run news agency KUNA.

"How can we remain silent when ten thousand Palestinians, including four thousand children, have been killed, and tens of thousands have been injured, and when tens of thousands of homes, infrastructure, hospitals, shelters, and water reservoirs have been destroyed?" Abbas said, according to KUNA.

Blinken also met with Abbas in Jordan's capital Amman on October 13. File Photo by Palestinian President Press Office/UPI
Blinken also met with Abbas in Jordan's capital Amman on October 13. File Photo by Palestinian President Press Office/UPI

On Saturday, Blinken met Arab diplomats in Jordan to confirm the United States' continued support to Israel while working to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. Blinken's stop in Ramallah is part of a larger trip through Nov. 10, with future stops in Turkey, Japan, South Korea and India.