Palestinians outraged over US efforts to have Abbas back Israel-Arab normalisation: report

Palestinians outraged over US efforts to have Abbas back Israel-Arab normalisation: report
Palestinian officials have reportedly said President Mahmoud Abbas will not offer any support on normalisation between Israel and Arab nations until Israel commits to recognising a Palestinian state.
2 min read
12 July, 2022
US President Joe Biden (left) will visit the Middle East later this week [AFP via Getty-file photo]

Palestinian officials have expressed their resentment over a request from Washington that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas express support for normalisation between Israel and Arab states, Haaretz reported Monday.

US officials say that a statement from the Palestinian president in favour of normalisation would go a long way toward Arab states renewing negotiations with Israel, Haaretz reported.

Ramallah officials speaking to the Israeli daily said this would not be possible unless Israel commits to recognising an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

The report comes as US and Palestinian officials hold talks ahead of US President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East later this week, which will include stops in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The administration of former US President Donald Trump brokered the so-called Abraham Accords that saw Israel agree in 2020 to normalise relations with four Arab states - Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the UAE - sparking outrage on the Arab street.

Though the Biden administration has rolled back on some of Trump's pro-Israel policies, it does look to be continuing the push for normalisation between Israel and Arab states.

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Washington has reportedly facilitated talks between Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia over two strategic Red Sea islands, in a move seen as a gateway to better ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has not ruled out normalisation with Israel in the future, but has said Israeli occupation of the Palestinians territories is a major obstacle.

Biden will also be visiting the Gulf kingdom during his trip to the Middle East.

Palestinian and Western officials told Haaretz that in their talks in the run-up to Biden's visit, Washington has made it appear as though Biden will only address economic, not diplomatic issues.

Palestinian officials said it does not look like Washington will address key issues including the reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem, removal of the Palestine Liberation Organisation from the US Congress’ list of terror organisations, or a declaration of the 1967 borders as the basis for future negotiations with Israel.

"Money and assistance is very important, but what about a clear diplomatic stand?" one Palestinian official reportedly asked.

"Unfortunately, as of now, there are no policy differences between the Biden and Trump administrations."

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian residents, as recorded by human rights groups.

More than 700,000 Jewish Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.