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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

US Secretary of State, Qatari FM discuss Israeli escalations against Palestinians


Washington’s top diplomat spoke with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to discuss recent developments in the besieged Gaza Strip. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the ongoing Israeli violence against Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza in phone calls with the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

The diplomats spoke about “efforts to restore calm in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, in light of the tragic loss of civilian life”, according to the US Department of State.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that the two officials also discussed “the recent Israeli attacks on worshippers at the Al Aqsa Compound” as well as ongoing bombardment of Gaza, dubbed the world’s largest open air prison.

The statement from MoFA added Al Thani’s calls for “urgent action by the international community to stop the repeated brutal Israeli attacks against civilians in Gaza and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Read also: BREAKING: Israeli airstrikes destroy media building housing Al Jazeera, global outlets

This comes as calls for a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas intensifies among US senators, according to a statement issued by 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday.

Since the violence erupted last week, several Democrat senators have slammed the United States for its support for Israel and called for the protection of Palestinian rights on Friday.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said Israel has a right to defend itself and reiterated calls for both sides to hold fire.

“To read the statements from President [Joe] Biden, Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken, General [Lloyd] Austin and leaders of both parties, you would hardly know Palestinians existed at all,” said the US Congress’s only Palestinian-American member Rashida Tlaib.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar also condemned Israel’s attacks against Palestinians and the US’ support of the illegal Israeli occupation. Her sentiments were echoed by Congresswoman Cori Bush, congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and other members of the US Congress.

“We are anti-war, we are anti-occupation, and we are anti-apartheid,” Bush said.

Meanwhile, Qatar has been lauded for its de-escalation efforts and calls for ceasefire in a comment by the British delegate to the United Nations Security Council, as well as the US Department of State. 

So far, 192 people have been killed in Israeli air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, including 58 children and 34 women.

Over 40,000 Palestinians have been displaced in Gaza and more than 500 homes have been demolished.

Israeli airstrikes in the besieged Gaza Strip also destroyed a 13-floor building housing offices of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network as well as US news agency The Associated Press, drawing condemnation from journalists around the world.

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