U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday concerning the violent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price, Blinken “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.”

He also reiterated his “call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence.”

The statement reported that the two leaders also discussed the ongoing violence in Jerusalem.

Blinken “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,” it said.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the call, saying Netanyahu thanked Blinken “for the American support of Israel’s right to self-defense, which the secretary reiterated during the call.”

Since hostilities erupted on Monday—launched by Palestinians on Jerusalem Day—the Biden administration has backed Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks that include rocket barrages from Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Arab property destruction, looting and arson in cities across the country.

To date, more than 1,300 rockets have been fired on Israel since the hostilities began.

JNS

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