US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from taking decisions and measures against Israel, pending the arrival of US President Joe Biden to the region.
Blinken called Abbas amid a state of frustration in Ramallah, as the latter had begun consultations with his advisers and members of the political leadership, in order to activate the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council, which include - among others - severing relations with Israel and freezing its recognition.
The US State Secretary wanted to contain the Palestinian anger, after Abbas told him that he could no longer tolerate the current situation, complaining about the absence of international protection for the Palestinian people, and Israel’s denial of its obligations under signed agreements and resolutions of international legitimacy.
Abbas told Blinken that the Palestinian leadership was in the process of taking measures to confront the Israeli escalation, “in light of the international community’s inability to compel Israel to comply with international legitimacy resolutions, and stop its criminal and occupying practices and its ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination measures, amid an American silence.”
Among other requests, Abbas raised the issue of removing the PLO from the US terrorism list, and reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem, as well as the PLO office in Washington, as a full and committed partner in the peace process.
Blinken responded by emphasizing the commitment of Biden’s administration to a two-state solution, ending settlement expansion, preserving the status quo, stopping the expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem neighborhoods, and putting an end to unilateral actions on both sides.
He also tried to reassure Abbas of the administration’s commitment to reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem.
The US official told Abbas that the administration would send a high-level delegation to prepare for Biden’s visit, and promised him to discuss all of his requests. He also stressed the US determination to improve the situation for the Palestinians.
Moreover, Blinken underlined “the US administration’s keenness to investigate the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and to prosecute and hold the killers accountable.”
Blinken’s reassurances came following a meeting held by Abbas with his advisers and officials, to discuss decisions to pressure Israel, the United States and other international parties, to launch a political process, in light of the escalation of the Israeli attack on the Palestinians.
Earlier this week, State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that the United States was committed to opening its consulate in Jerusalem.
“We continue to believe it can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” Price told reporters during a briefing.