riots erupted at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

“We believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely to enjoy equal measures of freedom opportunity, and democracy, to be treated with dignity,” Mr. Blinken said.

“Healing these wounds will take leadership at every level of society,” he said.

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Blinken Hopes to Solidify Hamas and Israel’s Cease-Fire

As a candidate, Mr. Biden had said there would be “no more blank checks for Trump’s ‘favorite dictator’” — meaning Mr. el-Sisi, whose increasing authoritarianism has drawn widespread criticism. Though the Egyptian president was the first Arab leader to congratulate Mr. Biden after the election, Mr. Biden waited until last week to return the call.

But after that chilly start to their relationship, Egypt has sought to capitalize on the Gaza crisis to shore up its ties with the new administration. Mr. Blinken will meet Mr. el-Sisi in Cairo, providing the Egyptian leader an opportunity not only to reaffirm his nation’s the relationship with the United States but also to promote Egypt’s status as a regional power broker and leader among Arab countries.

Though that status has been fading for years as Egypt fell into domestic turmoil and wealthier Arab states asserted themselves in the region, Cairo enjoyed mostly smooth relations with Washington in recent years until the arrival of the Biden administration, which has put human rights at the center of its foreign policy strategy.

The administration, however, has not fundamentally changed the terms of the relationship with Cairo, which centers on the $1.3 billion in military aid Egypt receives each year from the United States, a historical byproduct of its agreement to make peace with Israel in 1979. The State Department approved a $197 million arms sale to Egypt in February, around the same time that Egypt arrested the cousins of an Egyptian-American dissident, Mohamed Soltan, in what Mr. Soltan said was a bid to pressure him to stop criticizing it.

The conflict also could serve to continue repairing the relationship between the United States and Jordan that had been largely shelved during the Trump administration. At least two million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, and its Hashemite monarchy is the custodian of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

Mr. Blinken’s visit comes at a fraught time in Israeli politics, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heading a caretaker government that could be in its last days, after four inconclusive elections in two years, and with no clear picture of what lies ahead.

Experts in the region said Mr. Blinken would have to maneuver carefully between expressing his administration’s unwavering support for Israel and its security while not handing over any gifts that could be perceived as intervening in Mr. Netanyahu’s domestic predicament.

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For Israel and Hamas, Hard Choices Before Any Talks Could Begin

BRUSSELS — As the United States and Egyptian mediators head to Israel to begin de-escalation talks, the antagonists are weighing delicate internal considerations before agreeing to discussions on ending the violence.

Both Israel and Hamas first have to find ways to spin a narrative of victory for their publics, analysts say, but the task will be easier for Hamas than for Israel.

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has to calculate the impact of the fighting on his own political fortunes, made more complicated by the internal unrest between Jews and Israeli Arabs in numerous cities inside Israel. The crucial decision for Israel is whether “victory” requires sending ground troops into Gaza, which would extend the conflict and significantly increase the number of dead and wounded on both sides.

For the Palestinians, the indefinite postponement of elections last month by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, created a vacuum that Hamas is more than willing to fill. Hamas argues that it is the only Palestinian faction that, with its large stockpile of improved missiles, is defending the holy places of Jerusalem, turning Mr. Abbas into a spectator.

President Biden has spoken to Mr. Netanyahu and repeated the usual formula about Israel’s right to self-defense, and he has dispatched an experienced diplomat, the deputy assistant secretary of state Hady Amr, to urge de-escalation on both sides.

But the United States does not talk to Hamas, regarding it as a terrorist organization, and Mr. Abbas has no real control over Gaza or Hamas. So in all likelihood, Mr. Amr will be talking to Egyptian security officials, given that Egypt has been the usual interlocutor in concluding rounds of warfare between Israel and Hamas. That includes the last two big blowups, in 2008 and 2014, when the fighting lasted more than 50 days.

On Thursday, Egypt dispatched security officials to Tel Aviv and to Gaza to begin discussions, according to the state-controlled newspaper Al Ahram and the broadcaster Al Arabiya. Officially, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, which does not deal with Hamas, had no comment.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, told a meeting of the Arab League that Egypt had reached out to Israel and other “concerned countries” to try to calm the violence, but that Israel had not been responsive.

Abdel Monem Said Aly, a longstanding analyst of Egyptian and regional relations in Cairo, said that “Egypt will do its best” in the interests of regional stability. But he warned that Mr. Netanyahu’s decision about whether to use ground troops would determine how long this round of violence lasted.

“The issue is much more complicated than previously,” he said, citing internal Israeli and Palestinian politics and Egypt’s efforts “to steer the whole region to a different more stabilized future.” Egypt has leverage over Hamas because of its land border with Gaza, which Cairo can shut or relax at will.

“And, of course, Egypt will talk to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, those with money, about rebuilding in Gaza,” Mr. Said Aly said. “But the problem in Israel is not about talking to Mr. Netanyahu, that’s easy, but the winds inside Israel itself, and the big competition between different brands of conservatism.”

On the Palestinian side, he said, “There is a similar vacuum of political legitimacy, and Hamas will score by raising up Palestinian public opinion and increasing guilt in Islamic countries about the Palestinians and getting more legitimacy for future elections.”

Mr. Said Aly fears the events will increase Islamic radicalism both in Gaza and in Israel, among its young Arab population. “Of course, Egypt will talk to everyone,” he said. “We will talk of the problems of the whole region, and we won’t exclude the Palestinian issue. But how much anyone can help now is not clear.’’

Hamas also has reason to mistrust Egypt and its leader, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to Michele Dunne, a former American official and director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment. Mr. el-Sisi sees Hamas as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which remains powerful in Egypt, and in 2014 he did little to discourage Israel from invading Gaza in hopes of destroying Hamas.

The violence can take a long time to subside, said Mark A. Heller of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “At some point Israel reminds itself that there is no way it can bring about a decisive outcome at a tolerable cost to itself,” he said, “and Hamas realizes that the costs and risks to its own political viability and control over Gaza become too much.”

At that point, Mr. Heller said, Hamas agrees to “what they say is always a temporary cease-fire, not a peace, and usually gets some sort of payoff, I suspect this time from the Qataris.”

Egypt is usually the interlocutor “and the fig leaf” for negotiations between Hamas and Israel, which both sides deny but that are going on almost continuously over many smaller issues, he said.

Beyond such local concerns, Egypt is mindful that it needs to patch fences with Mr. Biden after the departure of President Donald J. Trump, said Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project. “I think Cairo wants to demonstrate its importance to Biden,” he said, noting the beginning of reconciliation talks with Qatar and Turkey.

Qatar, a rich emirate, bankrolls both Hamas and the Arab news operation Al Jazeera, and Turkey has been a strident supporter of Hamas. That had put them at odds with Egypt. But with the election of Mr. Biden, Egypt has gingerly followed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in trying to calm relations with Qatar and Turkey.

Muslim countries have criticized Israel’s actions, but in largely perfunctory fashion so far, given that many of their leaders distrust Islamist radicalism. Many Arab countries have sidelined the Palestinian issue and are looking past Mr. Abbas to see, and try to manipulate, who will succeed him as head of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

But, for now, with so much Israeli attention on the internal strife between young Jewish and Arab citizens, Mr. Levy said, many things are up in the air, and the struggle over Gaza can seem less important. It may also divert the Israeli security forces, making a ground incursion less likely.

“This strife is an extremely disorienting and worrisome development and a matter of far greater concern, frankly, than Hamas,” said Mr. Heller. “The army can take care of Hamas, but we need something to take care of Israeli society, and right now we don’t have that.”

Vivian Yee contributed reporting from Cairo.

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Violence in Israel Challenges Biden’s ‘Stand Back’ Approach

At a briefing on Monday, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, was asked about a tweet by Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, who said that the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, in a defense of the proposed evictions, had endorsed “ethnic cleansing.” Mr. Price said the claim was “not something that our analysis supports.”

Some analysts said that even if Mr. Biden shared the assessment that more pressure on Israel’s government would be effective, he might be wary of further exacerbating tensions with Israeli leaders anxious about his top priority in the Middle East: an effort to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Mr. Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have long opposed.

Mr. Biden also took office at a moment of enormous political flux, with Israel in the midst of several failed efforts to form a lasting government and the Palestinians headed toward elections — since postponed, another source of the current unrest — that complicated efforts to devise a clear U.S. policy. Mr. Netanyahu is struggling to hold on to power, and U.S. officials say the influence of Mr. Abbas over Palestinian protests and violence, driven by militants and social media, is close to zero.

Mr. Biden also has memories from his days as vice president of Mr. Obama’s call for an Israeli settlement freeze and territorial concessions, which had little effect on policies over the long term but drew fierce political blowback from Republicans and some Democrats who said Mr. Obama failed to understand Israel’s security needs.

Republicans continue to exploit tensions in the Democratic Party over Israel policy. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump issued a statement charging that Mr. Biden’s “lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.” But it was unclear what support Mr. Trump felt the United States was not providing, given that his own statement of support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” matched Biden administration talking points.

Many Democrats, including Biden officials speaking privately, say that Mr. Trump is a key cause of the current problems. Halie Soifer, the chief executive of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said that Mr. Trump, who fulsomely supported Mr. Netanyahu’s pro-settlement policies and defied warnings of Palestinian unrest in moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, “was willing to intervene in Israeli domestic politics and elections to pursue his political agenda, regardless of its impact on the region or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Ms. Soifer said that Mr. Biden deserved credit for being a supporter, during the Obama administration, of Israel’s so-called Iron Dome antirocket system, which has been defending Israeli cities from incoming fire.

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Palestinian Vote Delayed, Prolonging Split for West Bank and Gaza

JERUSALEM — When the Palestinian Authority called in January for parliamentary elections, many Palestinians hoped the vote — the first in the occupied territories since 2006 — would revive Palestinian discourse, re-energize the independence movement and end a 14-year division between Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

But those hopes were dashed Thursday night when President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority announced that the vote, scheduled for May 22, would be delayed indefinitely.

The news compounded an unsettled political dynamic across the occupied territories and the state of Israel, where both Israeli and Palestinian societies remain racked by political stalemate and division, where tensions are rising in Jerusalem and Gaza, and a return to peace negotiations appears less likely than ever.

The official reason for the postponement was the refusal by the Israeli government to confirm that it would allow voting in East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. East Jerusalem is mainly populated by Palestinians who participate in elections for the Palestinian Authority, a semiautonomous institution that exerts partial jurisdiction in other parts of the occupied territories.

wrested control of Gaza from Mr. Abbas in 2007, and which has never recognized Israel.

“It is a big mistake to go to these elections,” Kamil Abu Rokon, an Israeli general who oversaw administrative aspects of the occupation until earlier this month, said shortly before leaving his post. “My recommendation is not to cooperate.”

at an impasse, following an election in March — Israel’s fourth in two years — in which both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponents failed to win a workable majority.

In Jerusalem, the situation is tense, following a march last week by far-right Jewish supremacists who chanted “Death to Arabs,” attacks on both Palestinians and Jews, and the provocative Israeli decision, now rescinded, to close a central plaza in East Jerusalem where Palestinians enjoy gathering during the ongoing month of Ramadan.

That unrest broke months of relative calm in Gaza, where militants fired dozens of rockets toward Israel last weekend to protest the situation in Jerusalem.

The city is at the heart of the pretext provided by Mr. Abbas to postpone elections.

Under the interim agreements signed in the 1990s between Israeli and Palestinian leaders known as the Oslo Accords, the Israeli government is obliged to allow Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem.

second breakaway faction, headed by Nasser al-Kidwa, a former envoy to the United Nations, and Marwan Barghouti, a popular militant serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for five counts of murder.

In the most recent poll, Mr. Abbas’s faction still came out on top, with about a quarter of the vote. But it was projected to fall far short of an overall majority because nearly as many voters said they would vote for the rival Fatah groups. Hamas polled under nine percent.

No Palestinian official would admit publicly this week that these factors affected Mr. Abbas’s thinking. But speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Palestinian official and a Western diplomat briefed by the Palestinians said that he feared losing influence to his former allies.

And after Mr. Kidwa and Mr. Barghouti broke with Mr. Abbas in March, a senior Palestinian official said in an interview with The New York Times that the move put the elections at risk because it risked undermining Fatah.

“Fatah’s situation needs to be strong, it needs to lead the Palestine Liberation Organization and the national project,” said Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the P.L.O., the official representative of the Palestinian people. “If there is harm to the national project, there will be heavy and powerful voices that will be in favor of postponing the elections.”

Some Palestinians met the postponement with a shrug. Many felt the elections would not have occurred in a particularly free environment, while some always suspected they would be canceled. Others felt voting for a Palestinian Parliament would have little effect on the biggest problem in their lives: the Israeli occupation.

Elections suggest “there is a sovereign entity in which people are participating in a democratic process,” said Yara Hawari, a senior analyst at Al Shabaka, a Palestinian research group. “But you can’t have a full democracy under occupation.”

Many Palestinians were nevertheless furious at being deprived of a rare chance to choose their representatives. Crowds of protesters, many of whom were too young to vote in the last Palestinian elections, demonstrated against the decision in both the West Bank and Gaza.

“The people demand the ballot box,” they chanted.

Muhammad Shehada, a 28-year-old unemployed civil engineer from Gaza City, called the decision “a big disappointment.” The situation in Jerusalem was no reason to cancel the elections, he said: “The occupation controls Jerusalem, whether the elections are held or not.”

The lack of elections also raises the specter of intra-Palestinian violence, since different factions will now have no peaceful forum in which to air their grievances and express their frustrations, said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University in Gaza City.

“Many Palestinians were hoping that elections would ease the tension and friction between the factions,” said Dr. Abusada. But the election delay, he said, “will leave the Palestinians fighting against each other.”

Iyad Abuhweila contributed reporting from Gaza City, and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem.

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Palestinian Militant Will Challenge Abbas’s Party in Election

JERUSALEM — A popular Palestinian militant broke with the political party that controls the Palestinian Authority late Wednesday, escalating a power struggle and dimming the party’s hopes of retaining a monopoly on power in parliamentary elections.

The militant, Marwan Barghouti, 61, was long a revered figure in Fatah, the secular party that runs the Palestinian Authority and was co-founded by Yasir Arafat, the former Palestinian leader. Though serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for five counts of murder, Mr. Barghouti commands considerable respect among many party cadres and is considered a potential future candidate for Palestinian president.

On Wednesday night, Fatah members acting on his behalf broke with the party, forming a separate electoral slate that will compete against Fatah in the elections in May and posing a direct challenge to Fatah’s 85-year-old leader, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Barghouti’s faction joined forces with another longtime protagonist of Palestinian politics, Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of Mr. Arafat and a former Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, who split from Fatah this year.

before withdrawing and supporting Mr. Abbas. He had been a leader of the Palestinian uprisings in late 1980s and early 2000s, and was convicted in 2004 for involvement in the killings of five Israelis.

He was sentenced to five life terms and campaigned for office from his jail cell.

Fatah’s supporters will now be forced to choose among three Fatah-linked factions — the official party, the Barghouti-al-Kidwa alliance, and a third splinter group led by an exiled former security chief, Muhammad Dahlan.

Members of Mr. Barghouti’s alliance said they had created the new faction to revitalize Palestinian politics, which has increasingly become a one-man show centered around Mr. Abbas, who has ruled by decree for more than a decade.

“The Palestinian political system can no longer only be reformed,” said Hani al-Masri, a member of the new alliance, at a news briefing on Wednesday night. “It needs deep change.”

A Fatah official dismissed the group as “turncoats.”

“Even with our prophet Mohammed, there were turncoats,” said Jibril Rajoub, the secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee, at a separate press briefing outside in Ramallah, West Bank. “Fatah is strong and sticking together.”

Mr. Abbas has canceled elections in the past, and some believe he may seek to do so again in the coming weeks.

But at this point, a cancellation would be “very expensive, politically,” said Ghassan Khatib, a Ramallah-based political analyst and a former minister under Mr. Abbas. “There is a high political price for that.”

Mr. Abbas’s best hope would be for the Israeli authorities to intervene in the elections, Mr. Khatib said. Hamas has already accused Israel of arresting some of its leaders and warning them not to participate in the election, which Israel denies. And Palestinian officials say that the Israeli government has yet to respond to a request to allow voting in East Jerusalem.

This dynamic that could give Mr. Abbas a pretext to cancel the vote.

Mr. Abbas “needs an excuse that can justify such a decision,” Mr. Khatib said.

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Palestinians and Israelis Both Vote Soon. The Differences Are Stark.

Israeli leaders have paid almost no public attention to the Palestinian election — even though it might conceivably produce a united Palestinian leadership that could present a joint front in peace negotiations with Israel. Conversely, if the vote gives Hamas a bigger role within Palestinian governance, that could also affect Israel’s ability to coordinate with the Palestinian Authority — since Hamas does not recognize Israel and is considered a terrorist group by Israel and much of the international community.

By contrast, many Palestinians keep a close eye on Israeli politics, said Professor Abusada, who said it was “a sad thing” to see Israeli elections stuck in such a repetitive loop. But at least Israelis had the opportunity to vote so often, he said. “We haven’t been able to for a long time,” he added. “It makes us feel cynical about our own political system that we are not able to make any change.”

Within the confines of Palestinian politics, the prospect of an election has nevertheless shaken up some of the alliances and assumptions of the previously moribund Palestinian polity. For the first time in years, Palestinians can imagine the dormant Parliament buildings in Ramallah and Gaza City coming back to life. And Fatah, long the engine of the Palestinian national movement, now faces challenges not just from Hamas but from other parts of secular Palestinian society.

Confirmed or potential challengers include Salam Fayyad, a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority; Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security chief who now lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates; and Nasser al-Kidwa, a former Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, and the nephew of Yasir Arafat, Mr. Abbas’s predecessor.

All three said they wanted to help found new alliances to compete against Fatah and Hamas, while allies of Marwan Barghouti, an influential Fatah militant jailed in Israel for five counts of murder, said he was considering it.

In Gaza, Hamas faces a threat from a generation of young Palestinians struggling to find work. The unemployment rate in Gaza hovers around 50 percent, largely because of the blockade that Israel has placed on the enclave in order to undermine Hamas’s military activity and rocket production. If Hamas were replaced by a unity government, some Gazans hope, the new leadership might defuse at least some of the tensions with Israel and improve living conditions.

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