US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns has arrived in Tel Aviv to hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials amid recent escalation in the West Bank, media reported on Friday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 27th January, 2023) US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns has arrived in Tel Aviv to hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials amid recent escalation in the West Bank, media reported on Friday.
On Thursday, at least 10 Palestinians were killed and 20 others injured as a result of an Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning in the country. Meanwhile, the Israeli army said it had neutralized three Palestinian militants in the city of Jenin, suspected of preparing major terrorist attacks. Following the incident, Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip exchanged missile strikes on Friday.
Burns, who came to Israel on Thursday, was initially going to meet with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss Iran's nuclear program and the issue of military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, Israeli news portal Walla reported, citing US sources. However, recent tensions in the West Bank are likely to affect the agenda, the media outlet added.
The CIA director is also going to visit the West Bank during his trip, according to Walla.
Burns' trip to Israel is part of his Middle Eastern tour. On Monday, the US intelligence chief also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. The two officials discussed the situation in the region and intelligence cooperation�between the US and Egypt, the president's office stated.
US State Secretary Anthony Blinken is also scheduled to visit Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories from January 29-31 to discuss issues including the conflict in Ukraine, Iran and other regional problems.
Relations between Israel and Palestine have been adversarial since the latter's founding in 1948. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition of their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements in the occupied areas despite objections from the United Nations.