As Joe Biden became US president Wednesday, Palestinian officials welcomed him to the post, but more than they were happy to see Biden’s arrival they appeared to be glad to see his predecessor Donald Trump go.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Biden with a laconic statement.
“We look forward to working together for peace and stability in the region and the world,” Abbas said.
The PA leader said he was ready for a “comprehensive and just peace process that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence.”
Officials in Ramallah welcomed Trump’s defeat. Palestinians were angered by what they considered lopsided Trump support for Israel, such as the US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a peace plan which they contended favored Israel and did not provide them with a state, and deep cuts to US aid to Ramallah. The Trump administration, for its part, saw Ramallah as intransigent and unwilling to compromise.
The PA severed its ties with Washington after the 2017 Jerusalem embassy move, but is hoping the Biden administration will provide an opportunity to resume relations. Ramallah hopes Biden will reverse several Trump administration policies that angered it, including restoring aid to Palestinian refugees, which the Trump administration cut in 2017.
The PA also hopes Biden will reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington, which Trump ordered closed in 2018, expelling the PLO’s envoy, Hussam Zomlot.
In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Zomlot did not explicitly comment on the incoming Biden administration but rather celebrated Trump’s departure.
“Trump left the White House. We, the Palestinian people, its leadership, my wife & children who were removed from the US because of Trump, have reason to celebrate. We stood tall & immune against [the] bully. We stay standing until there is freedom, justice & equality for the Palestinian people,” Zomlot said.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also shed few tears over Trump’s departure, calling the former president “nothing but bad news for the Palestinians.”
“Zionist sympathist advisors — who worked in the interest of Israel and used their positions to do what others were unable to do — leave with [Trump]. At least we will not wake up every morning expecting the worst,” al-Maliki said in a statement to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
The Hamas terror group demanded that Biden “correct the historical course of wrong and unjust American policies towards our people.”
“There is little regret over Trump’s departure from the American government, as he is the greatest sponsor of injustice, violence and extremism in the world, and the direct partner of the Israeli occupation,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum.
Barhum called on the new Biden administration to respect “the Palestinian people and their democratic choices,” a possible reference to Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections. The United States refused to cooperate with the Palestinian faction after it took a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature.