Palestinian Authority: We are waiting to hear from Biden administration

‘Trump was a disaster for Palestinians’

Then US Vice-President Joe Biden (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 9, 2016 (photo credit: REUTERS/DEBBIE HILL/POOL)
Then US Vice-President Joe Biden (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 9, 2016
The Palestinian Authority, overjoyed that the era of US president Donald Trump has ended, is looking forward to hearing from the new US administration on Washington’s policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Thursday.
“We are waiting to hear about the new US administration’s policy to resolve the conflict, especially its position on settlements that increased during the term of the Trump administration, as well as the Judaization of Jerusalem,” Shaath told the PA’s official newspaper, Al-Ayyam. “Trump was the worst US president regarding the Palestinian issue. He was a disaster for the Palestinians.”
Shaath pointed out that Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ruled that settlements are not inconsistent with international law, labeled settlement products as being made in Israel, encouraged settlement activities, gave Israel a green light to the “annexation” of parts of the West Bank, and “presented the worst [peace] plan.”
The “annexation” refers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s since-shelved plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to portions of the West Bank. The peace plan refers to Trump’s Peace to Prosperity vision, or “Deal of the Century,” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Shaath also noted that Trump halted US aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and hospitals in east Jerusalem “as a means of political blackmail,” closed the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, and canceled the US consulate in east Jerusalem.
“The most important thing we expect from the new US president is what is related to our rights as a Palestinian people who yearn for freedom and independence in an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Shaath added. “We hope that there will be an American strategy, and we are waiting to hear from the new president.”
PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh called on President Joe Biden’s administration to take a “clear position” toward Israel’s settlement policy if it wants to achieve peace and stability in the region.
“All the settlements are illegitimate according to international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions, the latest of which was Resolution 2334, which was supported by the international community, as well as the US,” Abu Rudaineh said.
A PLO official said that the Palestinian leadership was expecting the Biden administration to resume financial aid to the PA and UNRWA, and reopen the PLO mission. The Biden administration, however, is not expected to cancel Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, the official said.
“As soon as we resume our official contacts with the Biden administration, we will demand that the US pressure Israel to halt all settlement activities and revive the two-state solution,” the official said. “So far, no one from the Biden administration has contacted us.”
The Palestinian daily Al-Quds said in an editorial that it was too early to tell whether Biden would play a different role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The paper claimed that “the American reality in general is much affected by the forces of the Zionist lobby, which requires the Arabs and Muslims to work toward changing, ending or reducing American bias in favor of Israel.”