Palestinian officials outraged by slowness of US policy towards PA
Frustrated Palestinian officials say US pledges to the Palestinian Authority (PA) are a “mirage,” and US policy towards Ramallah under President Joe Biden is no different from that of its predecessor, Donald Trump, describing the contrast as a “cosmetic change”.
A Palestinian official close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the 86-year-old leader was “outraged” by the slowness of US policy towards the Palestinians. Privately, Ramallah officials accused Washington of delaying and misleading them.
“Everything they promised has evaporated, they have not kept any of their commitments,” the official said.
Biden still refuses to meet Abbas, according to sources in Ramallah, who said Abbas canceled his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in September, due to the failure of the PA’s efforts to secure a Abbas reunion with Biden.
The two spoke once by phone last May, following the 11-day cross-border conflict between Israel and Gaza, and there is an open official channel of communication between the two. Meanwhile, US officials are visiting Ramallah again.
Abbas became furious with the Biden administration during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership last month, attacking US officials, calling them “liars for not keeping the promises they made to us.”
These promises include the reopening of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, the provision of financial support to the Palestinian Authority, and the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem.
Recently, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement led by Abbas, said that “the current US administration has no initiative for peace.”
The Palestinians counted on renewed American support, both politically and financially.
Ahmad Rafiq Awad, president of the Jerusalem Center for Studies at Al-Quds University, said there is a general feeling among the Palestinian leadership that the US administration has let them down.
“They feel frustrated and disappointed because there are hardly any tangible measures on the ground taken by the United States,” said Rafiq Awad.
The PLO office remains closed with barely a trickle of financial aid, and despite the US pledge to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, no date has been set for such a move.
“The Palestinians were beaming when Biden won the White House, they had high expectations of him. They have to come down because the reality is that Biden can’t seem to put pressure on the Israeli government, ”he said.
Hasan Awwad, an expert on Palestinian affairs at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, said the PA lives in “isolation” and is so weak that it cannot make political demands of anyone , including in the United States.
“These are difficult times for the PA and Abbas, hardly anyone is cooperating with him. Neither the EU nor the Arabs. Abbas is in trouble, ”according to Awwad.
At a press conference on Saturday night, Israeli officials halted any US plans to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters that the disputed city is the “capital of one state” and that there is “no room” for the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, standing next to Bennett, has suggested that a site in the West Bank is acceptable to Israelis.
“As for the consulate, as we both said, it’s not about politics and political stability. It is the State of Israel refusing in principle that a consulate be opened in Jerusalem. If they (the United States) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, that’s okay with us, ”he said.
The comments infuriated Palestinian Authority officials, who praised the administration’s plan; they quickly rejected the last position of the Israeli government. Abbas’s spokesman said the Palestinian Authority would only accept a US consulate in Jerusalem, which he called the capital of the Palestinian state.
US officials have publicly stated that they want to move forward with their plans to open the consulate; however, Israeli officials insist that the decision to authorize the diplomatic mission rests with Israel.
Former Palestinian Authority Minister Ziad AbuZayyad said the White House was trying to repair the damage caused by its previous occupants.
“The Biden administration is trying to overturn all the stupid decisions made by the Trump administration, including the nuclear deal (Iran), move the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. he declares.
Reopening the diplomatic mission in Jerusalem that was shut down by Trump was a campaign pledge by Biden, which he has yet to keep. Professor Ronnie Shaked of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at Hebrew University said a crisis between the two allies could be brewing.
“It’s going to be a crisis. Yes, there will be a crisis on the way. There will be some kind of pressure. The US president understands the situation in Israel and he will delay his decision, ”Shaked said.
It was a decision that delighted the Israeli administration and outraged the Palestinians. “This decision undermines any possibility of a political solution to the conflict; therefore, the United States is bound and demanded to reverse this decision and reopen an American embassy in East Jerusalem to deal with the Palestinians, ”AbuZayyad said.
The US administration has refrained from pushing the consulate issue, pending approval of the Israeli budget – which was passed late last week, thus avoiding the automatic dissolution of the government that its failure would have triggered. Now that he is on the sidelines and the fragile governing coalition seems secure, all eyes are on the White House pending a possible announcement.