Palestinian Authority fears Biden visit would sideline Palestinian issue

The Palestinian leadership is also worried that Saudi Arabia was on its way to normalizing its ties with Israel, a move Ramallah fears would further increase the Palestinians’ isolation.

 A CAVALCADE of high-ranking Israeli officials have made pilgrimages to King Abdullah II of Jordan, while he chose only to visit Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, at least publicly. (photo credit: JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE/REUTERS)
A CAVALCADE of high-ranking Israeli officials have made pilgrimages to King Abdullah II of Jordan, while he chose only to visit Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, at least publicly.
(photo credit: JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE/REUTERS)

After holding a series of meetings with senior PLO and Fatah officials in Ramallah to discuss US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Israel and the future of relations between the Palestinians and Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday arrived in Amman for talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

The Abbas-Abdullah talks came as Palestinian officials expressed concern that the Palestinian issue would be “marginalized” in wake of the talk about the formation of a new Israeli-Arab military alliance in the region.

The Palestinian leadership is also worried that Saudi Arabia is on its way to normalizing its ties with Israel, a move Ramallah fears would further increase the Palestinians’ isolation in the Arab world.

Both the military alliance and the Israel-Saudi relations are on the agenda of Biden’s talks next month in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Palestinian officials said that Abbas’s talks with King Abdullah were in the context of continuing coordination between the Palestinians and Jordan. Abbas was accompanied by PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh and Majed Faraj, head of the PA General Intelligence Service.

PA-Jordan relations

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in March. The Biden administration treats leaders of the PA as children or worse, says the writer. (credit: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in March. The Biden administration treats leaders of the PA as children or worse, says the writer. (credit: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters)

The Jordanian monarch told Abbas that Jordan stands by the Palestinian people and their cause, according to a statement by the royal palace in Amman. He also stressed that the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli-conflict is through the two-state solution and reiterated the need to preserve the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount.

Abdullah informed the PA president that Jordan is “in constant contact with the US and is working to place the Palestinian issue at the top of the Biden’s agenda during his visit to the region.”

On Saturday night, the Fatah Central Committee expressed its hope that Biden’s visit would “constitute a real opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations and contribute to creating the atmosphere for a political horizon to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.”

The Fatah leaders stressed at the end of a meeting that was chaired by Abbas the importance of removing the PLO from US terrorist lists and reopening the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, which was closed by the Trump administration.

The Fatah leaders called on Biden to fulfill the electoral promises he made to the Palestinians, including the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem that was also shut by the Trump administration. The Central Committee stressed the importance of this.

They also urged Biden to reaffirm his administration’s recognition of the two-state solution and opposition to any changes of the status quo in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and settlement expansion.

The leaders said that they discussed “the dangerous and continuing Israeli escalation against the Palestinian people and their land and holy sites.”

“This policy pursued by this government and previous Israeli governments confirms that there is no Israeli partner for making peace,” read a statement issued by the Fatah committee after the meeting.

“The world is required to act immediately to provide international protection for our people, implement the resolutions issued by the United Nations General Assembly by the secretary-general of the United Nations, and stop the policy of denunciation and silence that encouraged the Israeli occupier to commit more heinous crimes. Our people will not remain silent towards these crimes.”

Meeting in Ramallah 

On Thursday night, Abbas chaired a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah also to discuss preparations for the Biden visit.

The committee members took the Biden administration to ask for failure to carry out the promises it made to the Palestinians.

The committee called for putting in place “serious mechanisms to implement what President Biden promised and the US administration talked about regarding the reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem.”

The PLO committee said that the failure to implement the promises shows that the US “continues to support the occupation at all levels.”