US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Blinken spoke to Abbas by phone "to reaffirm the US commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability," said a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price.
"The Secretary underscored the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to take steps that restore calm and our strong opposition to unilateral measures that would further escalate tensions."
That message followed a decision by Israel's new hard-right government to give retroactive permission to multiple settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank -- a move that drew nearly unanimous criticism among major powers including the US.
The White House said Thursday it was "deeply dismayed" by the Israeli decision, but it nevertheless voiced opposition to a proposed UN Security Council resolution to demand Israel end settlements in the occupied territories.
Blinken met with Abbas late last month in the West Bank at the end of an intense series of diplomatic meetings planned before the latest flare-up of violence.
Last year was the deadliest year in the West Bank since the United Nations started tracking casualties there in 2005, and the deadly violence has continued this year.