US Elections 2021
The acting US ambassador to the UN, Richard Mills, told the UN Security Council that the Biden administration plans to fully restore diplomatic relations and to restore the economic and humanitarian assistance that the Trump administration has blocked.
Ibrahim Milhem, spokesman for the Palestinian government, said that President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh welcomed the announcement, which highlighted US support for a two-state solution and the importance of returning Israel and Palestine to negotiations.
He added that the Palestinian leadership is keen to restart negotiations on the basis of mutually negotiated UN resolutions and the principles of international law calling for an end to the occupation of Israel and the formation of an independent Palestinian state.
"With the help of international parties, based on international laws and UN resolutions, we are ready to resume diplomatic negotiations with Israel," he said. "However, any solution that does not take Palestinian rights into account, as enshrined by international laws and UN agreements, will fail."
Senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Group,Wasel Abu Yousef, said Palestinians are aware that the Biden administration has indicated a strong break from Trump's policies, while at the same time being aware of its ongoing, unambiguous support for Israel.
"What the Palestinians really want is a clear path toward ending the Israeli occupation and establishing their state, not a conflict management policy in the way that was done under former President Barack Obama's administration for eight years," he said.
After Palestinian leaders opposed Trump administration policies that they claimed denied the Palestinian people their rights and breached previous international agreements, Trump stopped US economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority, worth $200 million, and more than $350 million in humanitarian aid provided through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
Mills said the decision to change the lives of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis was taken by the Biden administration.
"These steps are not seen by us as a favor to the Palestinian leadership," he said. "US aid benefits millions of ordinary Palestinians and helps to maintain a stable environment that both Palestinians and Israelis benefit from."
He also emphasized the "steadfast support for Israel" by the Biden administration, but added that it would support attempts to achieve a mutually agreed two-state solution in which Israel, alongside a viable Palestinian state, lives in peace and stability.
Representing Illinois' 3rd Congressional district in the House of Representatives, Democratic US Congresswoman Marie Newman said the decision to restore relations with the Palestinians was a step in the right direction on the road to peace and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis.
"I am extremely hopeful that with the intentions and efforts of the new Biden administration to re-establish UNRWA funding, oppose illegal land annexation, and resume peace talks with the Palestinian leadership, we will have a clearer path for both the Palestinian and Israeli people to peace, justice and prosperity in the region."
During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and refused to comply with various UN resolutions calling on it to end the occupation. The Oslo Accords, which provided for the end of the occupation and the eventual creation of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, were signed by the Israelis and the Palestinians in 1994, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Under the Trump administration, in 2017, in defiance of international law that does not recognize Israeli jurisdiction over the holy city, the US government recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved its embassy there from Tel Aviv.