Abbas to UN envoy: I want to get rid of the occupation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf that he was set to reduce the level of relations with Israel, warning that the unsustainable situation can no longer be tolerated .

In return, the US envoy asked the Palestinian president to wait for President Joe Biden’s possible visit to the region next month before taking action.

Leaf arrived in Ramallah on Saturday evening accompanied by her assistant assistant Hady Amr.

His trip is aimed at calming Abbas’s anger and trying to prevent the Palestinian president from making quick decisions that could impact US efforts in the region.

“Our goal is to get rid of the occupation on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy. East Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the State of Palestine,” Abbas told the US delegation.

He added that the current situation cannot be tolerated without a political horizon and international protection for the Palestinian people.

During his meeting with Leaf, Abbas also reiterated positions he expressed two weeks ago in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken when the PA chairman said he was about to take action to deal with the Israeli escalation.

Abbas said his warning came amid the international community’s failure to compel Israel to abide by resolutions of international legitimacy and end its criminal and occupation practices of ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination.

The Palestinian president also asked his host about the fate of US pledges to remove the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the US terror list and to reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and the PLO office in Washington.

Leaf replied that his country was still working to maintain the prospects of a two-state solution and that his delegation aimed to prepare for Biden’s visit to Ramallah and his meeting with Abbas.

The US envoy’s office said on Saturday that his visit was aimed at discussing US-Palestinian relations, US aid to the Palestinians, deepening ties and how Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures. of freedom, security and prosperity.

On Thursday, the United States said it was restoring a line of communication for the Palestinians that had been canceled by the Trump administration.

The move means the Palestinians will deal directly with the US State Department in Washington rather than going through the US Ambassador to Israel first.

However, that falls short of the Biden administration’s promises — and Palestinian demands — for the United States to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which for decades had functioned as a de facto American embassy to the Palestinians.

In return, Abbas warned to implement decisions taken by the Central Council in February, which included suspending recognition of Israel.

Michael A. Bynum