Blinken & Abbas Meet Amid Conflict in the West Bank

Blinken-Abbas Meeting

  • On January 10, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the ongoing Gaza war and violence in the West Bank during an in-person engagement in Ramallah.
  • The two parties evaluated administrative reforms that would benefit the Palestinian people and PA overhaul efforts “in preparation to govern a post-war Gaza.”
    • The U.S. has expressed interest in a reformed Palestinian Authority governing a post-war Gaza, though the PA responded with concern of “rid[ing] into Gaza on the back of an Israeli tank.”
  • This visit marked Blinken’s fourth trip to the region since October 7.

January 7-11: Conflict in the West Bank

  • During the week of Blinken’s visit, violent conflict persisted in the West Bank:
    • January 10: Sources indicate that Israeli forces conducted an 11-hour raid on Jenin and its camp. Reports confirmed the deployment of Israeli “army snipers on the rooftops of houses in the city of Jenin, coinciding with the deployment of military vehicles and bulldozers into the city.”
    • January 8: Israel announced that it had killed three Palestinians during a raid in Tulkarm. An IDF vehicle appeared to repeatedly run over the body of one Palestinian in a circulating video; according to the Israeli border police, the action was unintentional.
    • January 7: Nine Palestinians and two Israelis were killed amid air, gun, and explosive attacks in the West Bank.
    • In separate incidents in Ramallah this week, an Israeli man was killed by unidentified gunmen, and a 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed when the IDF fired at another vehicle suspected of conducting a ramming attack.
  • On January 7, the official Palestinian news agency reported that “a major deployment of Israeli forces was under way in Jenin.”
  • Israeli security chiefs have warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the West Bank is on the brink of major escalation.

The Broader Picture

  • Since October 7, Israel has escalated raids on Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank, and settler attacks have surged.
  • The U.S. has taken measures against the alleged mobilization of West Bank settlers by far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and continues to condemn settler violence.
    • On November 21, the U.S. delayed the shipment of 4,500 M-16 rifles to Israel, fearing they would be used to arm settlers.
    • On December 5, the U.S. issued visa bans for dozens of settlers who had committed violent acts against West Bank Palestinians. Palestinians who committed violent acts against Israelis in the West Bank also received visa bans.


(Banner image: Palestinian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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