Biden upgrades US-Palestinian ties by appointing special envoy

Hady Amr’s new title is part of a bid by the Biden administration to compensate for the delay in reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

The Biden administration has appointed a Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs, in an effort to upgrade relations with the Palestinians, Axios reported on Tuesday.

Washington-based Hady Amr, who for two years has served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, “will engage closely with the Palestinians and their leadership and, together with Ambassador [Tom] Nides and his team, continue to engage with Israel on Palestinian-related issues,” the report cited a State Department official as saying.

The State Department notified the outgoing Israeli government led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid as well as the incoming government led by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, the U.S. official said.

It is the first position of its kind and is part of an American bid to improve relations with the Palestinians, given that the Biden administration has yet to fulfill its promise of reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. The Trump administration shuttered the consulate, which served as a de facto diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, as well as the PLO mission in Washington in 2018.

Last week, during an official visit to Jerusalem, Amr urged Israeli officials to take steps to strengthen the security relationship with the Palestinian Authority as well as its economy, amid concerns that the PA is in danger of imminent collapse.

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Amr has in the past decried Israeli policies and blasted Israel over its alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians.

In an unhinged 2002 rant, Amr repeated Palestinian jihad propaganda, declaring: “I have news for every Israeli: a very large proportion of the more than 150 million children and youth in the Arab World now have televisions, and they will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children.”