Palestinian Authority rejects Biden administration’s push for reforms

The US should instead reform its policies towards the Palestinian people, said PA spokesman.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) publicly rejected Tuesday American demands for reform, which the U.S. has said is a necessary condition for its support for a Palestinian state that would take over the ruling of the Gaza Strip on the “day after” Israel’s war with Hamas there comes to an end.

“What is really required is to reform Washington’s policies towards the Palestinian people, and to stop supporting the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem,” said Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

The PA has refused to condemn Hamas for its October 7, 2023 invasion of Gaza envelope communities in which its fighters and other terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people, including infants and the elderly, and took 250 hostage.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas instead blamed Israel for causing the attack due to its anti-terror policies, and has harshly condemned the IDF for the way it is conducting the war that the massacre sparked.

“Any necessary changes or reforms will be according to a Palestinian agenda, and not according to an external agenda,” Rudeineh added.

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President Joe Biden, who has been a decades-long proponent of the so-called “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has repeatedly supported Israel’s right to destroy Hamas, but wants to see the PA in charge in the Gaza Strip after that goal is met, in the form of an independent state that would also rule most of the territory of Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s government is opposed to this proposal, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the PA is a terrorist-supporting entity that could not be trusted to keep the border with Gaza quiet.

The Biden administration has acknowledged that the PA is not quite ready to assume control.

Last month, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s oft-repeated opposition to the PA have any role in Gaza due to its support for terrorism and promotion of Jew-hatred.

“What [he] said was right now you’ve got an unreformed PA, and that’s unacceptable to him. I would tell you that’s unacceptable to us too. We don’t believe the PA is in a position right now to be in—a credible control of governance in Gaza,” Kirby answered.

Without going into any details, he added that Washington desires a “reformed and revitalized Palestinian Authority.”

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Several senior American officials have met with Abbas since the war began, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken in late November and again last week. In November, Blinken told journalists that the discussions centered on “the need for reforms to combat corruption, empower civil society and support a free press,” according to Reuters.

The news agency’s sources said that the two also talked about the 88-year-old Abbas giving more power to his prime minister and bringing in new leaders to the PA. New blood untainted by charges of corruption could theoretically give more legitimacy to a government that has not held elections for almost 20 years.

Last week’s meeting, meanwhile, was described by Sky News Arabia sources as “tense,” with several “arguments,” as Blinken urged Abbas to get going with the reforms. The Secretary put a positive spin on their discussion, however, telling AFP that “What I take away from this meeting is that [Abbas] is committed to [reform] and is very much prepared to move forward.”