Abbas meets US envoy, calls on Biden admin. to end Israeli ‘aggression’
The Palestinian Authority on Monday demanded that the US administration exert pressure on Israel to end its military strikes in the Gaza Strip.
The demand was made during separate meetings between US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and the Palestinians, Hady Amr, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas and three senior Palestinian officials: Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs, Majed Faraj, head of the General Intelligence Service and Majdi Khaldi, diplomatic affairs adviser to Abbas.
The meeting between Abbas and Hady came days after the PA president received a phone call from US President Joe Biden concerning the latest flare-up of violence in the region.
At the meeting on Monday, Abbas urged the US administration to intervene to end the Israeli “aggression” and “escalation” and to begin efforts to reach a political solution on the basis of international resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
The meeting came amid growing concern in Ramallah that the violence could spread to the West Bank. Abbas has ordered the PA security forces to be on high alert to prevent scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said on Sunday.
The sources expressed concern that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad would try to instigate unrest in the West Bank to embarrass and undermine the PA leadership.
In some parts of the West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians have demonstrated in the past few days in support of Hamas and to protest the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
“Security and stability will be achieved when the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and its capital, East Jerusalem, ends,” Abbas was quoted as telling the US envoy.
Abbas said during the meeting that the Palestinians were ready to work with the Quartet members – the US, United Nations, Russia, and European Union – “to achieve a just and lasting peace that would guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom and independence.”
Abbas briefed the US official on the “dangerous situation” in Jerusalem and complained that “extremist settlers were carrying out terrorist attacks and calling for the killing of Arabs,” according to the PA’s official news agency Wafa.
Abbas also accused the Israeli security forces of “brutally assaulting worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and said that Israel must immediately halt its escalation against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Abbas thanked the Biden administration for its decision to resume financial aid to the Palestinians, which was suspended by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.
Wafa quoted Hady as affirming the need to achieve “calm and halt the escalation.” The Biden administration, he said, was making an effort with other parties to achieve this goal.
The US official also reportedly affirmed the US administration’s commitment to achieve peace and provide equal opportunities for the Palestinians and Israelis to live in dignity, security and prosperity, and stressed the need to work toward a two-state solution.
The three senior officials who met with Hady earlier in Ramallah demanded that the US administration put pressure on Israel to “halt settler terrorism, honor holy sites and rescind the decision to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.”
The Palestinian officials warned that the “continuation of the aggression by the right-wing government and the settlers could lead to the killing or destruction of any hope for reviving a meaningful political process to reach a comprehensive solution that would guarantee an end to the occupation, and to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Wafa reported.
The meeting came days after Abbas received a phone call from Biden during which they discussed the current fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The PA Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, denounced the Biden administration’s “incomprehensible” position at the UN Security Council after the council failed for the third time in a row to issue a statement regarding the Israel-Hamas fighting.
On Sunday, the US administration reportedly again blocked a joint statement by the Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire.
The PA ministry said that the US move was “inconsistent with the political positions and statements issued by President Biden and his staff.