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PA premier calls for US to play more active role in Israeli-Palestinian peace process

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at a press conference in Ramallah, February 27, 2021 (WAFA)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at a press conference in Ramallah, February 27, 2021 (WAFA)

WASHINGTON — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh calls on the Biden administration to play a more active role in bringing about a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a pre-recorded video address to the dovish Mideast lobby J Street, Shtayyeh thanks US President Joe Biden for renewing US aid for the Palestinians, mainly through the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

However, he then laments Biden’s failure to follow through on campaign promises to reopen diplomatic missions to the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Washington and went on to go through a list of steps Ramallah expected the US to take.

This includes doing more to prevent Israeli settlement expansion and entrenched control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem; pressuring Israel to allow Palestinian elections to take place in East Jerusalem; revoking congressional legislation deeming the Palestine Liberation Organization a terror group; and restarting direct aid to the PA, which ceased due to Ramallah’s stipends to Palestinian security prisoners and the families of slain terrorists.

Shtayyeh highlights the uptick in violence in the West Bank that is unfolding under the outgoing government and warns that the situation will likely worsen under the hardline coalition that prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to finalize in the coming days.

The PA premier claims that the next government is threatening to expropriate more Palestinian land in the West Bank, increase the number of settlers beyond the Green Line and adopt a “shoot to kill” military policy against Palestinian protesters.

Incoming national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir has pledged to loosen open-fire rules to allow soldiers to use more lethal force against Palestinians throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails. He has also backed soldiers filmed taunting and assaulting Israeli activists.

Shtayyeh says PA President Abbas remains willing to enter negotiations with Israel toward a two-state solution, arguing that a failure to reach it will mean Israel will no longer be a Jewish nor democratic.

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