CIA chief eager to restore ties with Palestinian Authority to 'deter Hamas influence'

CIA chief eager to restore ties with Palestinian Authority to 'deter Hamas influence'
2 min read
11 August, 2021
An unnamed Palestinian Authority official said CIA Chief William Burns is keen to restore ties with the PA as both seek to deter the influence and popularity of rival group Hamas in the occupied West Bank.
William Burns' visit was welcomed by the PA [Getty]

The Palestinian Authority has welcomed the visit of CIA Chief William Burns to the region, an official has said, noting it aimed to repair US relations with the PA.

The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed PA official as saying Washington under Joe Biden is serious about restoring relations with the Palestinian Authority which broke down during the Trump presidency, prompted by his so-called Deal of the Century.

The New Arab cannot independently verify the claims.

"The visit shows that the Biden administration is serious about restoring Washington's relations with the Palestinians and strengthening the Palestinian leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas," the official, who was not named by the Israeli newspaper, said.

"The Biden administration's policy toward the Palestinians is very good," the official said, claiming that the Palestinian leadership is "very satisfied" with the Biden administration's policy of "strengthening" the PA.

"The Palestinian Authority is facing a sharp financial crisis and we need urgent aid," the official said, warning that "failure to support the PA means that Hamas will come to power in the West Bank".

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Burns was in Palestine and Israel on Tuesday for talks on common foe Iran, as rising tensions overshadow talks on restoring a landmark nuclear deal.

He discussed Iran's nuclear programme and its activities in the region with both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Israeli counterpart David Barnea.

Burns travelled to Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and intelligence chief Majed Faraj.

The visit comes amid what analysts have called a "shadow war", which has seen a spate of attacks on vessels linked to Iran and Israel.

Last month, the MT Mercer Street, an oil products tanker operated by Israeli-controlled Zodiac maritime, was struck by a drone off the Omani coast, killing two crew members - a Briton and a Romanian.