Palestinians ‘optimistic’ about resumption of peace process

It also renewed its commitment to the two-state solution “based on the foundations of international legitimacy.”

THEN-US VICE-PRESIDENT Joe Biden shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2016. (photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
THEN-US VICE-PRESIDENT Joe Biden shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2016.
(photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
The Palestinians are optimistic regarding the prospects of reviving the peace process with Israel in light of the US administration’s renewed commitment to the two-state solution, a senior Palestinian official, said on Saturday.
Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee, said that the Palestinian leadership has received many indications about an “upcoming political move” to resume international efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ahmad told the Palestinian Authority’s Voice of Palestine radio station that efforts were being made “at the international level” to resume the peace process and “find a comprehensive solution” to the conflict.
He said his optimism was based on a change in the level of reactivating the work of the Quartet, comprising the US, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
Ahmad underlined that the US administration has resumed its contacts with the other Quartet members to discuss ways of resuming the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Quartet members, including US representatives, met virtually two weeks ago to discuss relaunching their efforts to resume peace negotiations.
A Quartet statement issued shortly after last month’s Israeli elections said envoys discussed returning “to meaningful negotiations that will lead to a two-state solution, including tangible steps to advance freedom, security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis.”
The Quartet envoys said they also discussed the situation on the ground, “in particular the COVID-19 pandemic, the unsustainable disparity in economic development between Israelis and Palestinians, and the need for the parties to refrain from unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve.”
The Palestinian leadership said last week it was ready to work with the international parties, specifically the Quartet, “to reach a political solution that guarantees security and stability in the region by establishing a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel.”
It also renewed its commitment to the two-state solution “based on the foundations of international legitimacy.”
According to Ahmad, the US administration has begun to move “from the stage of rhetoric to action,” especially after Washington’s recent decision to resume financial aid to the Palestinians.
Ahmad further praised the US administration for “affirming its commitment to the two-state solution.”
He said that although contacts between the Palestinians and the Biden administration have resumed, “they have not yet reached higher levels.”
The Palestinians expect these contacts to reach higher levels in the next few days, he added.
Ahmad’s comments about restarting the peace process come a month after the International Criminal Court announced its plans to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes; the pre-investigation process was initiated by the Palestinian Authority.
As such, Israeli officials have repeatedly said that Palestinians actions reduce the chances of peace and will lessen Jerusalem-Ramallah cooperation.
Last week, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call that “the PA’s active involvement in promoting the case and investigation [against Israel] will hurt any chance of advancement, whether on the diplomatic level or in the field.
“These Palestinian actions have a destructive impact on relations with Israel,” Ashkenazi stated.
A Palestinian official said on Saturday that the PA leadership is hoping that US President Joe Biden will call PA President Mahmoud Abbas soon.
The Palestinians boycotted the US administration after former president Donald Trump’s December 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Biden administration was planning to restart US economic, development, and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians.
The aid includes $75 million in economic and development assistance for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, $410m. for peace-building programs through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and a $150m. in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
“The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution,” Blinken said in a statement.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.