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Washington Wants to ‘Deepen Diplomatic Ties’ with the Palestinians

Washington Wants to ‘Deepen Diplomatic Ties’ with the Palestinians

Thursday, 6 October, 2022 - 10:00
Banner carrying the image of child Rayyan Suleiman who was killed in the West Bank on September 30 (AFP)

The administration of US President Joe Biden confirmed that it is working to "deepen diplomatic relations" with the Palestinians amid discreet attempts to revive the two-state solution with Israel through negotiations between the two parties.

US officials met with the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hussein al-Sheikh, during a high-level and unprecedented meeting.

The visit of the senior Palestinian official to Washington is significant because Sheikh is close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

It also reflects the high-level meetings he held over the past few days with senior officials in the White House, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

National Security Council (NSC) spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Sheikh at the White House on Tuesday, "following up on President Biden's trip to the West Bank in July."

Watson added that the two officials discussed the "US interest in supporting peace and stability, preserving the path towards negotiations for two states, and advancing equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

Sullivan stressed the "need to take steps to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank by countering terrorism and incitement" and noted the importance of all parties refraining from unilateral actions that threaten stability.

He emphasized the need to strengthen Palestinian institutions, including reinforcing commitment to non-violence.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with PLO officials in Washington and discussed their "commitment to a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and joint efforts to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people."

They also discussed current tensions in the West Bank and the urgent need to improve the security environment.

Sherman called on all parties to restore calm and desist from unilateral actions.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said that Sheikh met with other officials.

Patel announced that Biden's administration focuses on "renewing engagement with the Palestinian leadership and deepening diplomatic ties with the Palestinians."

He recalled the meeting between Presidents Biden and Abbas last July, considering it "an extension of those efforts to deepen relationships."

Asked about the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Patel did not set any date saying: "I don't have any specifics to offer yet."

He addressed the issue of Israelis' administrative detention of 800 Palestinians, stressing that the United States "urges the full respect for human rights both in Israel but also in the West Bank and Gaza."

"We have said many times before, we believe that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom."

On the child Rayyan Suleiman, who was killed during the arrest of the Israeli forces, he explained that his country did not request an investigation.

Patel indicated that the US administration "welcomes the investigation" already being conducted by the Israeli army.

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