The Palestinian Authority and the US are on the same page

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (File)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  March 29, 2022

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, gave additional proof that Palestine is far from a priority for the Biden administration. During a press briefing in Ramallah following a meeting between Blinken and Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, the discrepancies in diplomatic expectations could not have been more evident.

The PA made a great show of willingness to work with US President Joe Biden even before his foreign policy was made public. Now, with the Biden administration retaining much of Trump’s policies, in full or partially altered, Abbas has found himself groveling, once again.

As seen in the US Department of State’s briefing, Abbas is still reminding Blinken of prioritizing the two-state compromise. Besides the fact that the paradigm has been rendered obsolete, the Biden administration’s endorsing of former US President Donald Trump’s unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, among other issues, illustrates where the PA stands in terms of the current US administration.

Blinken’s response was non-committal, focusing on civil rights to avoid specific discourse on political rights. “We’re focused on advancing Palestinian civil and human rights, supporting civil society … And at the heart of all this is an ongoing, enduring commitment to the basic principle of the two-state solution.”

Not much has changed since January this year, when US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, summarized the outcome of Blinken’s call with Abbas, in which “quality of life for Palestinians in tangible ways” and the two-state compromise featured, yet again, as repetitive rhetoric.

The two-state compromise within the context of the Trump administration shows how Palestine is not prioritized by Biden. Abbas might try to continue the debacle of a return to the status quo, but Israel’s altering of Palestine shows otherwise. The apartheid designations which are being levelled against Israel and merely denied by the US, as opposed to holding the colonial state accountable, are more than enough proof of how far from a priority Palestine is to Biden. And, after spending the entirety of Trump’s presidency claiming that no other administration has been worse for Palestine, Abbas should at least affirm the historical process of US diplomacy. Continuity, however, is not a forte for the PA and its preference for fragmenting Palestine into separate issues, such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and settlement expansion, for example.

Despite the US failing to prioritize Palestine, the PA can also be accused of the same and in line with the Biden administration’s designations. Strengthening the PA is not strengthening Palestine, yet the PA finds no dissonance in preserving itself, in return for relinquishing Palestine.

PA officials have now stated, on more than one occasion, that Biden is not following through on his promises. Abbas’s recent statement affirms the PA is still “waiting” – a word used frequently by the PA’s Foreign Minister, Riad al-Maliki. Perhaps the PA can clarify that the waiting process is the only tactic it willingly embraces, given that the actions taken by the US, so far, are also based upon waiting, including strengthening the PA against the Palestinian people.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America