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US official says White House is very concerned by West Bank violence

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Then-US ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf. (Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./US Air Force)
Then-US ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf. (Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./US Air Force)

US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf says the Biden administration is working to ensure continued security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority amid the ongoing spike in West Bank violence.

In a phone briefing about her recent trip to the region, Leaf says the US is very concerned about the deteriorating security situation, which was at the top of her agenda during meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

But while acknowledging that Israeli-PA security coordination can help curb the violence, economic improvements for Palestinians are also critical, Leaf says, adding that the US is working to promote such steps.

She highlights the granting of 4G cellular access to Palestinians and opening the Allenby crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24/7 — two announcements made by the US during President Joe Biden’s July trip to the region, which Leaf says she pushed to ensure would be implemented.

Asked about the status of Israel-Lebanon maritime talks, Leaf says “they’re progressing” and that “both parties are showing a good constructive engagement.”

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