PA, Israel reject US proposal to meet ahead of Biden visit

Middle East Monitor  /  June 16, 2022

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel have rejected the US proposal to meet ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and the West Bank, news agencies reported on Wednesday.

The meeting, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, would be similar to the one attended by Israeli, US and Arab officials held in the Negev in March.

Palestinian officials stressed that such a meeting should include an Israeli commitment to the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, otherwise, the meeting would be useless.

Axios news website reported Hussein Al-Sheikh, senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, pressing: “We need a political horizon. We want to hear President Biden say what his detailed position regarding the two-state solution is.”

Palestinian officials also indicated that the US is likely considering Israeli public opinion and the consent of Israeli officials but does not consider Palestinians regarding the issue.

Meanwhile, Israel has rejected the US initiative, stating it would be: “A bad idea because it would be like a beginning of a political process without any guarantee for its success.”

Haaretz reported that Israel has stated that it does not want a mediator to facilitate talks with the Palestinians, noting that both sides maintain permanent contact, referring to security cooperation.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Barbara Leaf and her deputy for Israeli-Palestinian affairs Hady Amr shuttled more than three times between Jerusalem and Ramallah during their visit this week.

They attempted to bring the two sides together or, according to Axios, persuade Israel to refrain from any actions in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem that could create tension ahead of Biden’s visit.