US committed to two-state solution, Blinken tells Abbas

The PA president's office said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has committed to reopening its consulate in Jerusalem.

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL/REUTERS, REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The United States is committed to a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“We have prioritized reengagement with the Palestinian people and the PA,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

“This was an opportunity for the secretary, who has spoken with Abbas on a number of occasions already, to continue those conversations,” he said.

Blinken tweeted that he had a “good” conversation with the PA leader.

“We discussed strengthening the US-Palestinian relationship,” Blinken wrote.

The US Consulate on Agron Street (credit: Wikimedia Commons)The US Consulate on Agron Street (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Abbas's office said that Blinken has also committed to reopening its consulate-general mission in Jerusalem, which had served as a de-facto embassy to the PA until the Trump administration shut it down in 2019, according to the Palestine news agency WAFA.

Price did not confirm that part of the conversation when asked about in Washington.

“Blinken reiterated that Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve to live safely and securely, and enjoy equal measures of security, freedom and prosperity, and reaffirmed the US administration’s commitment to a two-state solution,” the State Department said in a readout of the conversation.

The call came just hours after Defense Minister Benny Gantz downplayed the possibility of diplomatic advances at this time toward a two-state resolution to the conflict.

Gantz has met twice with Abbas since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government was formed in May.

“We will not promote diplomatic agreements, but we must keep in contact so that a diplomatic horizon will be possible to ensure our security, our international strength and the continuation of the Zionist vision,” he said in the Knesset on Monday.

Last week, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with PA Civil Affairs Head Hussein al-Sheikh. But Bennett has refused to meet with PA officials and has been blunt about his opposition to a Palestinian state.

Gantz said the PA is aware that in order to develop a relationship with Israel, it must halt its international procedures against the Jewish state, do more to halt attacks against it and stop its stipends to jailed terrorists and the families of slain terrorists.

The US has also demanded that the authority halt such payments. Blinken hinted at that issue when he tweeted that the two men spoke of the need for “Palestinian reform.”

Abbas’s office said the PA president spoke with the secretary of state about the need to end the Israeli “occupation,” including halting settlement activity and settler violence. He spoke to Blinken about the importance of maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and about the fiscal crisis facing the PA.

Separately, Blinken tweeted about a portion of his conversation with Lapid, which did not touch on the conflict with the Palestinians.

“A strong US-Israel bilateral relationship is important in the face of common challenges, including the risks of further Russian aggression against Ukraine and threats posed by Iran,” Blinken wrote.