Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas reportedly blasted U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the Middle East as a “big zero” for the P.A. and the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The American president reportedly assured Abbas of his commitment to the “two-state solution” during a meeting in Bethlehem on July 15. However, the Lebanese pro-Hezbollah news outlet Al Akhbar reported that Abbas was surprised and disappointed that the P.A. did not receive anything tangible from Biden that could be presented as progress in the dispute with Israel.
Abbas reportedly shared his frustration about the engagement during a subsequent meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
The Egyptian and Jordanian leaders allegedly tried to convince Abbas that Washington currently is preoccupied with bigger issues, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Iranian threat. The two Arab leaders told Abbas that Biden would not initiate any unilateral political moves against the will of the Israeli government.
During Biden’s visit to the region, American and Moroccan mediation reportedly secured the permanent opening of the Allenby Bridge crossing for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, as a goodwill gesture towards the P.A. However, Jordan and the P.A. continue to blame Israel for overcrowding at the crossing.
“We are conducting intensive contacts with our brothers in Jordan to find solutions to this tragic situation experienced by Palestinians,” P.L.O. Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh said. “We call on Israel to take the necessary measures to end this suffering.”
P.A. politicians have blamed the lack of political progress between Jerusalem and Ramallah as a reason for more violence against Israel.
“It has become clear that the other side [Israel] understands only the language of resistance,” said Mahmoud al-Aloul, the deputy chairman of Abbas’ ruling Fatah party.
On Monday, the P.A. Foreign Affairs Ministry blasted Israel for “deliberately sabotaging” the two-state solution.
“Our people are victims of an official Israeli war against the Palestinian presence in the homeland, affecting all aspects and levels of Palestinian life, and the goal is to complete the annexation of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its complete separation from the Gaza Strip,” read the ministry’s official statement.
The Foreign Ministry in Ramallah also blasted Israel’s “violations and crimes” and the continued construction of Jewish homes in the disputed regions of Judea and Samaria.
The British Peel Commission first presented the “two-state solution” in 1937. Since then, it has been brought to the table in 1947, 1967, 2000 and 2008. Every time, the Israeli representatives accepted the formula for an Israeli and a Palestinian state, but their Arab counterparts rejected it.
In 2008, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas a near-complete Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, and the metamorphosis of Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Olmert also proposed that Israel absorb a limited number of former Palestinian refugees. After years of silence, Abbas finally admitted in 2015 that he had rejected Olmert’s peace offer in 2008.
Abbas demanded that Israel should accept millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Independence War. In practice, it would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish-majority state, something that no Israeli government would ever accept.
Olmert, who moved from being a political hawk to a dove, expressed his disappointment with Abbas during an interview in 2015.
“I told him, ‘Remember my words, it will be 50 years before there will be another Israeli prime minister that will offer you what I am offering you now. Don’t miss this opportunity,’” Olmert said.