Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday slammed “American silence” and demanded the Biden administration “turn its talk into actions,” in a phone call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The American administration must turn its talk into actions, rather than making do with this policy of condemnation, denunciation, and silence regarding these unilateral Israeli measures,” the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA news agency cited Abbas as telling Blinken.
The call came amid rising despair in the PA over the Biden administration’s refusal to fulfill its promise to reinstate some of the diplomatic practices dismantled by former president Donald Trump, including the reticence over reopening the consulate in eastern Jerusalem which served as a de facto mission.
Abbas also called for U.S. to rescind the 1987 determination that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is a terror group.
“The PLO must be removed from the American terror list, the American consulate in East Jerusalem must be re-opened, as must the PLO office in Washington, given that [the US] is a full, responsible partner in the peace process,” Abbas told Blinken, according to a translation of his remarks by The Times of Israel.
The call between Blinken and Abbas came ahead of a visit to the region by President Joe Biden later this month.
“The American administration will send a high-level delegation to prepare for Biden’s visit and discuss all the issues that President Abbas has raised throughout this phone call, and create an appropriate climate for the success of President Biden’s visit,” Blinken was quoted as saying.
Blinken “underscored the importance of concluding the investigations” into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in a firefight between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops in Jenin.
After a probe into the reporter’s death, the PA last week concluded last week that she was intentionally targeted by Israeli troops. Israel, which is conducting its own investigation, said that without the bullet it could not definitively assign blame for the death. The PA has refused to transfer the bullet over for forensic analysis.
The U.S. emphasized “the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working together to maintain calm and deescalate tension,” a statement from Blinken’s office said, before underscoring the “administration’s support for a negotiated two-state solution.”
On Monday, as reported by Breitbart, Biden officials said they would implement a series of measures aimed at boosting its relations with the Palestinians in lieu of reopening the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.
Citing two U.S. and Palestinian officials, The Times of Israel said President Joe Biden will promote Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to the role of special envoy to the Palestinians. The Washington-based Amr will make regular trips to the region and work closely with the Palestinian Affairs Unit, a U.S. Embassy branch that is housed in the old Jerusalem consulate building.
Donald Trump shuttered the consulate in 2019, angering the Palestinians. The Biden administration subsequently promised to reopen it but walked back the promise amid Israeli opposition.
However, on Tuesday State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. remains committed to reopening the consulate.