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Biden Administration Requests Clarification on Hamas-Fatah Election Partnership

Biden Administration Requests Clarification on Hamas-Fatah Election Partnership

Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 - 08:30
A sign directing to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission in Gaza (Reuters)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for clarifications on the partnership with Hamas in the upcoming elections, according to a Channel 12 report.

The United States wants reassurances that any future Palestinian government will recognize Israel, renounce violence and uphold agreements and abide by them, the report added.

Neither the US administration nor the Palestinian Authority (PA) commented on the report, yet a well-informed source ruled out in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat any dispute on the matter.

“Elections will be held under the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) sponsorship,” the source explained, stressing that the PLO is committed to all the agreements, in accordance to which the government will be formed.

“This is clear to everyone and to all the Palestinian factions. They all agreed not to give Israel any reason to prevent the elections from taking place or incite against the next government.”

The PA has officially resumed contacts with the new US administration.

It had cut relations with former US President Donald Trump’s administration for more than two years due to its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the punitive steps against Palestinians.

Contacts with Biden’s administration are carried out through Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr.

They earlier discussed means to restore Palestinian-US relations, especially the reopening of the PLO’s office in Washington and renewing US financial aid to the PA and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Contact between the PA and new US administration has been expected in light of previous indirect communication through mediators.

The PA is hoping that the Biden administration would rectify the tense relations and advance a new peace process in the region.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the upcoming elections are an existential issue that cannot be reversed.

“They pave the way for ending the division and leading to reconciliation,” he explained during a meeting with head of mission of the Office of the Quartet John Clarke in Ramallah.

He affirmed his country’s readiness for a serious political path based on international legitimacy and international law.

Both sides discussed the latest political developments and preparations for the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting, which will be held in New York on Feb. 23.

Clarke said the Quartet is ready to support the elections, accelerate efforts to restore bilateral relations with the US, and implement development projects, especially those targeting the energy and water sectors, with priority given to the Gaza Strip.

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