Biden urges Abbas to stop undermining Abraham Accords, to no avail

The Palestinian leader reportedly has not agreed to change his tune about the peace deals. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

President Joe Biden told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting in Bethlehem last week that the Palestinians should not do anything to undermine the Abraham Accords, but the aging Palestinian leader has yet to agree, a news report said Sunday.

Biden told Abbas that the Palestinians would do well to support the accords, which have seen four Arab and Muslim countries sign normalization deals with Israel, a senior administration official told Times of Israel. Both the U.S. administration and Arab nations in the region endorse the idea of bringing the Palestinians into accords, the report said.

Abbas, however, has not yet committed to “getting on board,” the report said, citing the official. Until now, the Palestinian leader has been deeply critical of the Abraham Accords, accusing the UAE and Bahrain of selling them out and “stabbing them in the back” in bypassing the previous paradigm that no Arab country would make peace with Israel before the Palestinians had their own state.

“We’ve made very clear that normalization and the implementation of the Abraham Accords is happening. This is a trend, and for the Palestinians to try to stand against it is not in anyone’s interest,” the report quoted a U.S. official as saying. “We have found the Arab capitals are very supportive of folding Palestinians into Abraham Accords efforts and we’ve increasingly found the Israelis to be so as well.”

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The Palestinians are already witnessing some of the benefits of cooperating with the accords, the report said.

In March’s inaugural Negev Summit between Israel, the U.S., and three Arab nations, Prime Minister Yair Lapid — then foreign minister — agreed to establish six working groups to meet regularly throughout the year to advance initiatives on range of different areas, including national security, coexistence education, clean energy, health, food, and tourism. The aim of the groups was to encourage regional cooperation and development in general, as well as improve the economic health and quality of life for Palestinians who are not members of the forum.

A White House readout from the meeting between Abbas and Biden said that the U.S. was undertaking “a number of initiatives to support the Palestinian people.” Biden also discussed “encouraging regional governments … to assist the Palestinian people.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday expressed his support for the U.S.’s attempts to use the Abraham Accords’ clout to build bridges with the PA.

“I believe that we can leverage the Abraham Accords and ties with regional partners in order to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and promote confidence-building measures,” he said at the Aspen Security Forum.