image Photo: Flash90, Reuters

US reportedly seeks to reset ties to PA

The administration of United States President Joe Biden is currently drafting a strategy to restore ties with the Palestinian Authority (PA) that significantly deteriorated under former President Donald Trump, according to an internal State Department memo.

The United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National was the first to publicize the development, reporting that the US vision is “to advance freedom, security, and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians in the immediate term.”

Sources familiar with the document describe it as being in a preliminary “working stage” that is subject to revision, and that any final version must be submitted for inter-agency review.

The document was cited as saying the US could announce a $15 million humanitarian aid package to help the Palestinians cope with the coronavirus pandemic as early as the end of this month.

The new approach is widely expected to eventuate into a reversal of Trump’s policies denounced by the Palestinians as being heavily biased in favor of Israel.

While it was reported that the White House will adopt a tougher stance on Israeli settlement activity, the internal memo was also said to press the PA to end its controversial pay-to-slay program “to end payments to individuals imprisoned (by Israel) for acts of terrorism.”

US State Department Spokeswoman Jalina Porter declined to provide additional details, telling reporters at a daily briefing that “We don’t have any comments on that specific memo.”

The White House has consistently expressed hope that ties with the Palestinians can be restored since Biden took inaugurated on 20 January; including the pledge to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance, and facilitate the reopening the Palestinians’ diplomatic mission in the American capital.

The Biden administration has also underscored its commitment to negotiating a Two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So far, the United States has implemented a cautious approach ahead of impending Israeli and Palestinian elections.

Israeli voters head to the polls on 23 March, in what will be the 4th national contest in 2 years.

In what will be their own first balloting in 15 years, the Palestinians will cast ballots for the Palestinian Legislative Council on 22 May, the PA presidency on 31 July and for the Palestinian National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization on 31 August.