Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah on Sunday.
He stressed that the priority should always be towards finding a political solution that would end the Israeli occupation of Palestine along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He called for resolving all permanent status issues, including those on refugees and the release of all prisoners under the supervision and sponsorship of the Quartet (United States, Germany, Britain, and France), according to international resolutions.
Blinken had arrived in Ramallah following a visit to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other Israeli officials.
He is on a tour of the region, which also includes Morocco and Algeria, to consult with partners on a range of regional and global priorities.
According to the US Department of State, Blinken will discuss the Russian government’s war on Ukraine, Iran’s destabilizing activities, the Abraham Accords and normalization agreements with Israel, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and preserving the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other issues.
Abbas discussed with Blinken means of reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) headquarters in Washington.
Talks also tackled the resumption of US financial support to the Palestinian Authority, which was suspended by former President Donald Trump.
He stressed that no party is holding Israel accountable for its actions, noting that “it acts as a state above all law.”
Blinken, for his part, stressed that the US is committed to rebuilding its relationship with the PA and Palestinian people.
He said the American administration has been focused on concrete ways to help improve the lives of Palestinians, including rejoining UNRWA and providing half a billion dollars in humanitarian assistance since April 2021, economic support to the Palestinian private sector and small businesses, job training for young people, and support for food-insecure families in the West Bank and Gaza.
“We’re focused on advancing Palestinian civil and human rights, supporting civil society,” he added.
Blinken said he spoke with Abbas and his team about the importance of responsive, responsible governance.
At the heart of all of this is an ongoing, enduring commitment to the basic principle of the two-state solution, he remarked.
“Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live with equal measures of freedom, of opportunity, security, of dignity, and we believe that the most effective way, ultimately, to give expression to that basic principle is through two states.”
However, he pointed out that the two sides are very far apart in this regard, noting that the US will continue its work to try to bring them closer.
“We’ll work to prevent actions by either side that could raise tensions,” he noted, including settlement expansion, settler violence, home demolitions, evictions, payments to people convicted of terrorism and incitement to violence.
Blinken underscored the need to have a peaceful Ramadan, Easter, Passover, all of which come together in a month’s time.