Abbas says US promises to put pressure on Israel ‘empty words’

Middle East Monitor  /  February 13, 2023

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has described promises made by the Biden administration to put pressure on Israel as “empty words”, Rai al-Youm reported on Sunday.

US officials apparently made five promises to the PA related to curb the Israeli occupation state, confirmed Jordanian and Palestinian diplomatic sources. The promises were made in a serious off meetings and contacts which also involved Egypt and Jordan. There was also “systematic pressure” applied to Egypt and Jordan to attend the so-called Negev II conference scheduled to take place in Morocco.

Senior US officials, including CIA Chief William Burns and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, took part in the meetings. The US pledged to stop Jewish settlements in areas A1 and A 2, where any settlement construction would separate the south of the West Bank from the north. Washington is already supposed to be against settlement expansion.

All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. So-called “settlement outposts” are even illegal under Israeli law.

The US also pledged to continue funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem and the development of PA security agencies. At the same time, though, the US apologized for offering direct financial aid to the PA.

Washington then pledged to seek a reduction in Israeli sanctions imposed on the PA, and to prevent additional sanctions. Pressure will be applied to the occupation state to maintain the status quo in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

During a meeting with Jordanian officials, Abbas described the US pledges as “empty words which offer nothing tangible.”