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UK’s Raab arrives in Israel for talks on boosting ceasefire, calls for 2 states

British Foreign Secretary’s visit comes a day after US Secretary of State Blinken holds talks in the region, will meet with Israeli, Palestinian Authority leaders

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, addresses G7 foreign minister, while being socially distanced as they meet in London, during talks at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP)
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, addresses G7 foreign minister, while being socially distanced as they meet in London, during talks at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP)

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged an end to the “cycle of violence” via a two-state solution ahead of post-ceasefire talks Wednesday in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Raab arrived in Israel late Tuesday for a one-day trip, a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his own visit, vowed to rebuild US relations with the Palestinians by reopening a consulate in Jerusalem and giving millions in aid to help reconstruct the Gaza Strip.

“I will meet with both senior leaders here and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on how to make the recent ceasefire lasts,” Raab tweeted after landing in Israel. “We must end the cycle of violence and make progress towards a lasting peace.”

Raab is to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, along with senior members of their respective governments, the Foreign Office said.

The diplomatic flurry comes after Friday’s truce ended 11 days of Hamas rocket fire at Israel and heavy Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Welcoming the ceasefire, Raab said in a statement: “It is crucial that all sides now focus on ensuring it can last.

“The events of the last month demonstrate the urgent need to make genuine progress towards a more positive future for both Israelis and Palestinians, and breaks (the) cycle of violence that has claimed so many lives,” he said.

“The UK supports a two-state solution as the best way to deliver a lasting peace.”

In Jerusalem on Tuesday, Blinken said Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side was “the only way” forward.

However, peace talks have stalled since 2014.

Britain has consistently backed Israel’s right to self-defense while urging it to act proportionately in retaliating against Hamas, the Islamist terror group that controls Gaza.

Last Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned an “intolerable” surge in antisemitic violence in Britain linked to the Israeli-Palestinian unrest, as he assured UK Jewish leaders of the government’s support.

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