Palestinians welcome US intentions of restoring ties


The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday welcomed the new US administration’s intention to reopen the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, closed under former president Donald Trump.

“We welcome the contents of the speech of the US administration’s representative to the (UN) Security Council yesterday,” Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the ruling Fatah party, told AFP.

“The opening of the east Jerusalem consulate, the reopening of the PLO office in Washington, and the new US administration’s commitment to the two-state solution are welcome positive indicators,” he said.

On Tuesday, Washington’s interim UN envoy Richard Mills said that newly sworn-in US President Joe Biden intended to “restore credible US engagement with Palestinians as well as Israelis.”

Biden intended to “restore US assistance programmes that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people and to take steps to re-open diplomatic missions that were closed by the last US administration,” he added.

Under Trump, the US had stopped supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and closed the Palestinians’ liaison office in Washington.

At the same time, the White House stepped up its support of Israel, recognising Jerusalem as its capital and declaring settlements should not be considered breach of international law.

“We expect that the new administration will raise a red card to the Israeli unilateral expansionist steps on the ground, dictating realities to undermine any possibility for the emergence of a Palestinian independent sovereign state,” Rajoub said.

Also on Wednesday, the Arab League’s assistant secretary-general, Hossam Zaki, announced that member states’ foreign ministers would meet in Cairo on February 8 to discuss Palestinian matters.