The Biden administration has now had more formal contacts with Palestinian officials in the first two weeks than the Trump administration has in its last three years.
why does it matter: The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestine Affairs, Hadi Amr, spoke by phone with several Palestinian officials on Monday. These were the first announced interactions between the two sides as the Biden administration moves to renew ties that have been effectively cut since Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that he was moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
what are they saying: We discussed bilateral relations, the latest current developments, and politics. It was a positive conversation. Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh said on Twitter after talking to Amr.
The Big Picture: The Biden administration plans to roll back many of Trump’s policies on Israel and Palestine.
- According to Biden administration officials, the United States will resume assistance to the Palestinians and reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington as well as the consulate in Jerusalem.
- The Biden administration will oppose annexation, settlement building, and demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel.
It is worth nothing: Amr will be one of the main players in shaping the administration’s policies toward Israel and Palestine. He is highly respected by Palestinian officials who see him as a balanced actor.
- The Biden administration does not plan to appoint a special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the State Department will take over most of this case.
Last: On Saturday, the Palestinian news site Imad reported that Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh and Director of Palestinian Intelligence Majid Faraj spoke by phone with Amr.
- Shtayyeh confirmed that they discussed the issue of the US embassy in Jerusalem and the reopening of the PLO office in Washington, as well as the renewal of US financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).