‘WE THANK the US for the support given to the State of Palestine,’ President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was visiting Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Earlier, Blinken had met with Israeli acting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he reiterated that ‘Israel has the right to defend itself.’
Abbas said: ‘This support has been given to us and to UNRWA (UN Palestinian aid agency) and we appreciate that very much.
‘We hope that the future will be full of diplomatic activities, political activities, with the other party, in a tripartite arrangement in order to reach a comprehensive, just and full solution according to the international legitimacy in order to put an end completely to these activities that are being done from time to time.
‘We would like to thank president Biden and his administration in his efforts to achieve a ceasefire between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
‘The people of Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem also thank the US administration for trying to put an end to the settlement policies in the occupied territories.
‘We are for peaceful popular resistance, and we reject violence and terrorism, whatever the type of violence and terrorism it is. We want peaceful ways to reach a political solution between us and between Israel.
‘We stress that our government is ready to deal directly in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and we are prepared to have a National Accord Government.
‘We need everyone to be committed to the well known international legitimacy and then we can accept the formation of a National Accord Government.
‘We informed the Secretary of State that we have postponed elections because Israel has rejected elections in Jerusalem. The moment Israel accepts elections in Jerusalem we will do it immediately without any delay because we need to have democracy in the State of Palestine.’
Blinken said: ‘We welcome the ceasefire that continues to hold, but that is not enough.
‘We have to build on the ceasefire and try to move things in a genuinely positive direction.
‘I am here to underline the US commitment in rebuilding a relationship with the Palestinian Authority and with the Palestinian people.
‘Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity and dignity. As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas we will be moving forward to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem.
‘We will also be working in partnership with the UN to assist in the relief and the recovery measures in Gaza.’
He added: ‘In total we are providing $365 million.
‘We will continue to firmly oppose any unilateral provocative action that risks sparking more violence and that undermines the prospects of a just, durable resolution to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, which ultimately requires two states.
‘Whether that is settlement activities, whether that is home demolitions, annexation of territories, incitement to violence, compensation for individuals taking part in terrorism, any unilateral action that undermines genuine progress and genuine peace is something we will continue to oppose.’
Meanwhile, more than 500 former Democratic Party staffers have signed an open letter urging Biden to ‘hold Israel accountable for its actions’ in and over Gaza and take ‘concrete steps’ to end Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The letter was signed by staffers and organisers who worked either directly at Biden’s national campaign headquarters, at the Democratic National Committee or at state Democratic parties that campaigned for Biden.
‘The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out in the aftermath of the recent explosive violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which is inextricable from the ongoing history of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion.
‘We remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes,’ the letter added.