Ahead of Biden visit, PA lowers expectations and threatens harsh measures

July 15, 2022 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) are lowering their expectations ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Bethlehem on Friday, as a disagreement between the US and the PA prevented the issuing of a joint statement.

Thousands of Palestinians attend a rally in Jericho against Israel’s plan to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, on June 22, 2020. Photo by Flash90.

Senior Fatah official and Secretary-General of the Central Committee Jabril Rajoub stated that “we have guarantees that the normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is conditional on solving the Palestinian problem,” putting a damper on Israeli expectations of a breakthrough with the Saudis during Biden’s visit.

In an interview with the Arabic-language BBC, Rajoub said the PA expects the Americans to act on practical plans that would “open a diplomatic horizon for the Palestinians and new hope.”

Rajoub called for a conference on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under international auspices and stressed that “the key to stability and the source of danger in the region is the continuation of the Israeli occupation.”

He further criticized the US for “not putting pressure on Israel.”

“The Palestinians have a commitment by Arab states to continue and strive to solve the Palestinian problem,” he claimed, warning that if the visit did not yield anything, “the Palestinians will not raise a white flag,” referring to the Palestinian threats in the last two months to sever relations with Israel.

Meanwhile, Arab sources report that there is further tension between the US and the PA who refused a joint statement that would support the normalization of relations between the Arabs and Israel.

Arab sources also report that PA head Mahmoud Abbas demanded sharp wording on eastern Jerusalem and other sources report that he demanded a US recognition of eastern Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine while the American version spoke of an unspecified Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem without mentioning specific borders.

PA sources have repeatedly stressed in recent hours that the leadership has no expectations of significant achievements in Biden’s visit and commentators refer to the visit as a “tourist” event or a courtesy visit, and even a constraint on his way to Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the PA fears a “harming to the Palestinian cause” if the US succeeds in promoting Israeli-Saudi relations.

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