US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Wednesday night with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and condemned the rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel.

“I spoke with President Abbas about the ongoing situation in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. I expressed condolences for the loss of life. I emphasized the need to end rocket attacks and deescalate tensions,” tweeted Blinken.

“Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Blinken spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to a spokesman for the US State Department, "The Secretary expressed his concerns regarding the barrage of rocket attacks on Israel, his condolences for the lives lost as a result, and the United States’ strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself."

"The Secretary and the Prime Minister discussed the ongoing violence in Jerusalem, and the Secretary reiterated his call on all parties to deescalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence. The Secretary emphasized the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in safety and security, as well as enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy,” the statement added.

Before that, Blinken announced at a press briefing that Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr will travel to Israel as soon as possible.

"We’re deeply concerned about what we’re seeing there," Blinken said. "Images that came out overnight are harrowing and the loss of any civilian life is a tragedy."

"I’ve asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr to go to the region immediately to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He will bring to bear his decades of experience and, in particular, he will urge on my behalf and on behalf of President Biden a de-escalation of violence. We are very focused on this," he added.