The Palestinian Authority will repeat its demand that the US administration fulfill its promises and declared commitments regarding the Palestinian issue, a senior PA official in Ramallah said Tuesday on the eve of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hours before the planned meeting, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, a group consisting of representatives of several Palestinian groups, called for holding a protest in Ramallah against Blinken’s visit and US “bias” in favor of Israel.
Ahmed al-Deek, a top adviser to PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, said the Palestinians were not asking for anything other than that the US administration lives up to its promises and adheres to its declared policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including support for a two-state solution and opposition to unilateral measures.
The Palestinians were nevertheless not pinning high hopes on Blinken’s visit to Israel and the West Bank, he told The Jerusalem Post.
Palestinians don't have high hopes on Blinken's visit
“We don’t have great expectations,” Deek said. “But these are our basic demands, and we want to relay them to the US administration. This Israeli government is anyway not going to listen to Blinken. As soon as he leaves, they will announce huge plans to build and expand settlements.”
Abbas will again demand that the US administration exert “real pressure on the Israeli government to halt all forms of escalation,” he told the Post. “These include daily military incursions into Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, extrajudicial killings, house demolitions, settlement activities and all forms of assaults on Jerusalem and its holy sites.”
During the meeting with Blinken, Abbas will also raise the issue of “settler attacks” against Palestinians and their homes and lands, Deek said.
US pressure to end these Israeli practices and measures would pave the way for achieving calm and building confidence between the Palestinians and Israel, he said.
“This will lead to the relaunch of a meaningful political process between the two sides on the basis of international resolutions,” he added.
The Palestinians were keen on strengthening and developing their relations with the US administration, Deek said.
“We hope the US will assume its role to stop the Israeli escalation, because it’s the only country capable of doing that,” he added.
Asked whether the PA was considering reversing its decision to end security coordination with Israel, Deek said there was nothing new regarding this step, which was announced last Thursday after an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership.
“The Palestinian leadership is determined to implement this decision,” he said, referring to the announcement to halt security coordination and pursue diplomatic and legal efforts against Israel in the international arena. “We’re not going to see any change unless there are positive developments on the ground.”
He pointed out that the decision to halt the security coordination was taken already in 2018 by the Palestinian Central Council (PLO).
Deek confirmed an earlier report by the Post that the PA was facing heavy pressure from various parties, particularly the US administration, to backtrack on its decision to cease security coordination.
The Palestinian leadership, nonetheless, waited for five years so as to give the international community and the US administration a chance to intervene to prevent deterioration, but nothing was done, he said.
“The Palestinian public demanded that the leadership take measures in response to the ongoing Israeli escalation,” Deek said. “The Palestinian leadership had no other choice.”
The decision to halt security coordination was taken already in 2018 by the Palestinian Central Council, Deek said.
The Palestinian leadership, nonetheless, waited for five years to give the international community and the US administration a chance to intervene to prevent deterioration, but nothing was done, he said.
“The Palestinian public demanded that the leadership take measures in response to the ongoing Israeli escalation,” he added. “The Palestinian leadership had no other choice.”
Deek complained that Israeli “escalation” was “weakening” the PA and preventing it from enforcing law and order in areas under its control.
“The Palestinian Authority is losing its credibility among the Palestinian people because of the Israeli measures and actions, including daily incursions and killings and settlement activities,” he said. “Israel is undermining the Palestinian Authority, and then complaining that the Palestinian Authority is weak and needs to be strengthened. How do the Israelis want to strengthen the Palestinian Authority – through [military] invasions and killings?”