Despite reversing some of Trump’s pro-Israel policies, the Palestinians are still disappointed with Biden.
By Associated Press
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki criticized U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday for moving too slowly to reverse all of the Trump administration’s allegedly adverse policies against the Palestinians and not using Washington’s special relationship to pressure Israel to abandon “its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations.”
Malki told the U.N. Security Council there were hopes that the end of Donald Trump’s administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “would be enough to pave the way for renewed momentum for peace.”
But while the Biden administration reversed several Trump policies, he said it has been slow to act, especially on its commitment to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians.
The U.S. “has yet to ensure the current Israeli government renounces its colonial policies and abandons its rejection of the two-state solution and peace negotiations. This is an unacceptable stance that should neither be tolerated nor excused and must be reversed,” Malki said, despite the Biden administration’s embracing of the Palestinians by restoring aid and diplomatic contacts.
Malki said he had “a very open, frank discussion” earlier Wednesday with U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, including on U.S.-Palestinian relations, the peace process, Palestinian expectations from the U.S. and “what they are trying to do in the near future in order to see things moving forward in the right direction.”
He said the Palestinians are engaging with the U.S. administration about possible ways to eliminate restrictions imposed by Congress on reopening the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.
US affirms ‘strong support for a two-state solution’
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan accused Malki of making “regurgitated accusations and baseless claims” and of ignoring the more than 200 “terror attacks” carried out by Palestinians against Israel in the last month.
These included 143 rock-throwing attacks, Erdan said as he held up a large rock, as well as 20 attacks using grenades and Molotov cocktails.
Malki called on the Security Council to take urgent action to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and save the two-state solution.
“Absent this sense of urgency, prepare yourself to attend the funeral of this solution, with all the consequences of such a death for the lives of millions of people, Palestinians and others,” Malki warned.
Malki urged support for an international peace conference and echoed Russia’s call for a ministerial meeting of the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia — “as soon as possible to mobilize efforts to get out from the current impasse.”
He said the UN, EU and Russia have agreed to a ministerial meeting but “we’re still waiting for the approval of the American side.” He said the three other Quartet members should convince the U.S. about the importance of a ministerial meeting to move the Middle East peace process forward.
Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador, made no mention of the meeting with Malki or the Quartet in her briefing to the council, but she reaffirmed the Biden administration’s “strong support for a two-state solution” and said “this year offers an opportunity to recommit to reaching a political solution to the conflict.”
To make progress, Thomas-Greenfield said both Israel and the Palestinians must refrain from unilateral steps that increase tensions and undercut efforts toward a two-state solution.
Israel’s Erdan accused the Security Council of “hypocrisy” and said when the world and the council, in particular, applies its “moral compass correctly, then we may well find the path to peace.”