Palestinians slam Biden administration for failing to stop Israeli ‘escalation’

Palestinian officials voiced disappointment over Washington's failure to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, such as reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

Then-vice president Joe Biden greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on March 10, 2010. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
Then-vice president Joe Biden greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on March 10, 2010.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Palestinian officials have expressed disappointment with the US administration for its alleged failure to exert pressure on the Israeli government to halt the IDF security crackdown on Palestinians in the West Bank.

The officials also voiced disappointment over Washington’s failure to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, including the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, which were closed by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior official with the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted on Saturday as saying the US administration “is not any better than the Right in Israel.

Ahmed spoke at a conference in Ramallah

Ahmed, who was speaking during a conference organized in Ramallah by the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party headed by activist Mustafa Barghouti, denounced the US administration for being “hesitant” and for making promises without fulfilling them.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)

Ahmed was referring to US President Joe Biden’s pledge to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which served as an unofficial diplomatic mission to the Palestinians before it was closed in 2019. He was also referring to a promise by US officials to reopen the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, which was closed by the Trump administration in 2018.

PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned that the “ambiguity” of the US administration’s stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would prompt the Palestinians to react in a different manner.

Commenting on the killing of two Palestinians by the IDF last week, he said: “In light of hesitation by the international community to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of international law and international legitimacy, and the vagueness of the American position that talks about a two-state solution, preserving the status quo in Jerusalem and halting unilateral measures without any real action on the ground, the Palestinians will have a different and more decisive action to confront these condemned and rejected Israeli acts.”

PLO Executive Committee member criticized Biden administration

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, also criticized the Biden administration for its alleged bias in favor of Israel.

“The US is the only sponsor and protector of the occupation government and provides it with a political and diplomatic cover in international forums,” he told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.

Majdalani hinted that the Palestinians would respond to the Israeli “escalation” on the ground by walking away from signed agreements between the two sides.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeated its call to the US administration to exert “real pressure” on Israel to stop its “bloody escalation” against the Palestinians, referring to the Israeli security forces’ counterterrorism measures in the West Bank.

Last week, US envoy Hady Amr visited Ramallah, where he met separately with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh.

Shtayyeh told him the US administration must “move urgently to put an end to the unilateral Israeli measures and threats that undermine the Palestinian Authority and destroy the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state.”

He was referring to the Israeli government’s recent sanctions against the PA in response to the Palestinian initiative to obtain a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice about Israel’s “occupation.”

The sanctions include the transfer of $40 million from frozen Palestinian tax revenues to compensate families of victims killed in terrorist attacks, the deduction of around $150m. in payments made by the PA to prisoners and the families of “martyrs,” freezing Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank and revoking VIP cards issued to some Palestinian officials.

Sheikh said he had stressed during the meeting with Amr “the need for a political horizon that preserves the two-state solution, in accordance with international legitimacy, and for the Israeli government to stop all its unilateral measures and daily attacks, which destroy the efforts toward a two-state solution.”

Commenting on the visit of the US envoy, a Palestinian official said: “So far, we only hear good words from the Biden administration, but they’re not doing enough to stop Israel’s daily practices against the Palestinians.”