US must reopen Jerusalem consulate ahead of Biden’s visit - PA

The Palestinian Authority also demanded that the PLO be removed from the US list of terrorist organizations.

 AN AMERICAN flag flutters at the premises of the former United States Consulate in Jerusalem. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
AN AMERICAN flag flutters at the premises of the former United States Consulate in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority hopes the US administration will fulfill its promises to the Palestinians ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next month, a PA official said Monday.

The promises include reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which was closed by the Trump administration in 2018, and removing the PLO from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, the official said.

The US State Department delegation that visited Ramallah over the past few days promised to relay the Palestinian demands to the White House, he said.

The US delegation, which was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf and her deputy, Hady Amr, did not carry any proposals for reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the official added.

Instead, the talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh and General Intelligence Service Director Majed Faraj focused on ways of strengthening Palestinian-US relations and providing financial aid to the Palestinians, he said.

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves to people as he bids farewell to Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during a live fire exchange in Jenin, in Ramallah in the West Bank May 12, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves to people as he bids farewell to Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during a live fire exchange in Jenin, in Ramallah in the West Bank May 12, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh played down the significance of any US measures if they are not accompanied by a “political horizon” for resolving the Palestinian issue.

The Biden administration has thus far fulfilled only one of its promises to the Palestinians – the resumption of financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, he told the PA’s Palestine TV.

During the meeting with Abbas on Saturday, the US officials discussed the US-Palestinian relationship, US assistance to the Palestinians, deepening bilateral ties and how Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security and prosperity, according to the US State Department.

Abbas told the US officials the PA leadership was in the process of taking measures to confront the Israeli “escalation” in light of the inability of the international community to compel Israel to comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy and to “stop its criminal practices and its measures of ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination,” the PA’s official Wafa news agency reported.

Abbas did not say what measures the PA was considering to take. In the past, he had threatened to suspend all ties with Israel.

Abbas also stressed the need to remove the PLO from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations list and reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO office in Washington.

US delegation meeting

The US delegation held another meeting with Sheikh and Faraj on Sunday evening as part of the preparations for Biden’s visit to the region.

The sides discussed the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, including Israeli “escalation and settler terrorism and their daily assaults against the Aqsa Mosque,” a reference to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount.

Sheikh also stressed the need to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem and remove the PLO from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

Sheikh said he talked about the economic aspects and the need to resume aid to the PA, as well as unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution and peace prospects.

“We need security, stability, an end to the occupation of our land, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”

Hussein al-Sheikh

“We need security, stability, an end to the occupation of our land and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” Sheikh said, stressing the need to adhere to the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.