WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday urged Israelis and Palestinians to avoid “provocations” and preserve a ceasefire after Israel approved a controversial nationalist march in Jerusalem.

“We believe it’s essential to refrain from steps that exacerbate tensions,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said when asked about the march.

He said the United States was engaged in diplomacy and wanted to do “everything we can to try to prevent escalations or provocations that might provide a spark to renew violence.”

Asked if the United States was opposed to the march, Price declined to respond directly but said: “We all saw what precipitated the last flare-up of violence and we know just how delicate the situation is.” The office of outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the green light to a march through Jerusalem next week, amid threats by Hamas to resume fighting if it goes ahead.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021

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