The United States strongly opposes the latest barrage of missile attacks on Israel, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. “This is an unacceptable escalation,” he said.
“While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself, to defend its people and its territory,” Price added.
He went on to say that “it is critical for all sides to ensure calm and de-escalate tensions and avoid violent confrontations, such as the responsible decision to reroute today’s [Jerusalem Day] parade.”
“More broadly, we’re deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip, including violent confrontations in Jerusalem, particularly in the Haram al Sharif Temple Mount, that has resulted in at least 180 additional injuries, as well as the rocket fired from Gaza, hitting houses in Jerusalem and the threat of further rocket attacks,” Price continued.
“The United States will remain fully engaged to promote calm in Jerusalem and we welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations, including the decision to avoid confrontations during the Jerusalem Day commemoration and the delay in the decision regarding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel should stop “immediately,” and he urged all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.
“We’re very focused on the situation in Israel, West Bank, Gaza, very deeply concerned about the rocket attacks that we’re seeing now, that they need to stop, they need to stop immediately,” Blinken said ahead of meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
Safadi encouraged the United States to take the lead in reducing crime.
Blinken also voiced outrage about the brutality and “provocative actions” in and around Haram al-Sharif, the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City known as the Temple Mount to Jews.
For days, tensions in the area have been heavy. Palestinian militants in Gaza launched rockets towards the Jerusalem city and southern Israel on Monday, threatening to punish Israel for violent clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Gaza’s ruling Islamist faction, Hamas, issued an ultimatum requesting that Israel withdraw its troops from the al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.