Photo: Reuters

US unhappy with Abbas’ Russia remarks

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas restated mistrust of the United States during an appearance in Kazakhstan alongside Russian President Vladmir Putin.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

“We don’t trust America and you know our position. We don’t trust it, we don’t rely on it, and under no circumstances can we accept that America is the sole party in resolving a problem,” Abbas told Putin duirng televised remarks at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) last Thursday.

Reiterating support of the Quartet on the Middle East – consisting of international mediators from Russia, the US, United Nations and the European Union, Abbas stressed that Washington should not be permitted to take unilateral steps to resolve the Palestinians conflict with Israel.

While taking aim at the US, however, the Palestinian leader enthusiastically praised Russia.

“Russia stands by justice and international law and that is enough for us,” he said, emphasizing that he is “completely satisfied” with Russia’s position towards the Palestinian people.

“When you say you stand by international legitimacy, this is enough for me and that is what I want. Therefore, we are happy and satisfied with the Russian position,” Abbas said to Putin.

While the 87-year-old Palestinian leader’s comments underscored his longstanding negative view of the US – Israel’s strong ally – his endorsement of Russia comes amid efforts by the President Joe Biden to isolate the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.

“We are deeply disappointed to hear President Abbas’s remarks to President Putin. Russia does not stand for justice and international law, as was evidenced by the UN General Assembly vote last week,” said US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, while “President Biden and Secretary (Antony) Blinken, in contrast, have demonstrated a U.S. commitment for decades to seeking creative solutions and working towards a lasting peace in the region that’s required to advance stability and prosperity throughout the region.”

Not only is “Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine is a clear violation of international law and it serves as a threat to global peace and security,” added the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson, but “President Putin is a far cry from the type of international partner or international leader needed to constructively address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Turning to ongoing tensions in Jerusalem and across the West Bank territories, Patel said that the US is calling on both Israel and the Palestinians to “take urgent action to prevent greater loss of life,” and that “Israelis and Palestinians deserve to have equal measures of security, stability, of justice and dignity and democracy.”

In related developments, Israeli President Isaac Herzog is slated to visit the White House next week at the invitation of his American counterpart.

The two will “consult on key issues, including regional and global challenges of mutual concern, opportunities to deepen Israel’s regional integration and ways to advance equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and security for both Israelis and Palestinians,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.