Assistant secretary of state to visit Palestinian Territories to ‘consolidate calm’

Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Barbara Leaf
Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Barbara Leaf. (Photo: Twitter)
AMMANAssistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Barbara Leaf, embarked on a visit to the Palestinian territories this month with the aim of consolidating calm in the region, a local media outlet reported.اضافة اعلان

In the coming days, Leaf will assess the progress made since the Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh summits, engaging with Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Egyptian officials to explore the way forward, according to a Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Al-Ain News.

Despite some advances achieved since the Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh meetings, factors contributing to tension still persist, necessitating further efforts from both Israeli and Palestinian parties to restore normalcy, the diplomat added.

Settlement activities in the Palestinian territories remain a pressing concern, with potential consequences for the overall situation and the future of the two-State solution.

Five meetings involving Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Egyptian representatives were held in Aqaba, Jordan, and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, prior to the last Ramadan in an effort to maintain calm and prevent a deteriorating situation.

Visit details
In line with these ongoing diplomatic efforts, the US Department of State announced that Assistant Secretary Leaf will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan during her trip.

During her visit, Leaf plans to engage with senior Israeli political and military leaders in Jerusalem, discussing topics of mutual interest, such as “enhancing Israel's integration into the Middle East and addressing Iran's destabilizing behavior”.

She will also meet with senior Palestinian leaders in Ramallah to discuss priority issues in US-Palestinian relations, including American efforts in support of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, Leaf will hold discussions with senior Jordanian officials in Amman to address common bilateral and regional priorities.

Israeli settlement expansion
Coinciding with the visit is the Israeli government's intention to approve the construction of thousands of settlement units in the Palestinian territories, a move that sparked outrage from Palestinian authorities.

Palestinians said that such resolutions violate Israel's commitment in Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh to freeze settlement activities for six months.

The US has repeatedly urged Israel to refrain from settlement decisions that could adversely impact the overall situation and the prospects of a two-state solution.

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