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Hady Amr’s appointment ‘unlikely to bring genuine change,’ Palestinian officials say

WASHINGTON: Palestinian officials in Ramallah said US President Joe Biden’s recent promotion of US State Department official Hady Amr as US special representative for Palestinian affairs does not meet their expectations for a more comprehensive engagement by the administration.

Amr, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, will now focus on Palestinian affairs as part of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern Affairs.

Palestinian leaders said the move is not enough to show that the US is serious about its stated goals of reopening the US consulate general in Jerusalem, which was historically considered the de facto US embassy. for the Palestinians, but was closed by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

Officials in Ramallah said Amr’s appointment will have no practical impact on the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, especially since Israel has shown no interest in engaging in meaningful peace talks.

Amr is unlikely to have an influence on the day-to-day situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, they added.

Palestinian leaders argued that the Biden administration is not meeting its own stated goals of largely ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

However, a US State Department spokesperson told Arab News that the Washington-based Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs, now headed by Amr, will liaise closely with the Palestinians and their leaders and, along with Ambassador of the US in Israel, Thomas Nides and his team, will continue to engage with Israel on issues related to Palestine.

The spokesman added that Amr’s appointment reflects the “Washington administration’s commitment to strengthening America’s engagement with the Palestinians.”

“The president reiterated that we in Israel and the West Bank remain committed to the reopening of our consulate general in Jerusalem and to the vision of a two-state solution.”

Jibril Al-Rjoub, secretary general of the Central Committee of Fatah, the ruling party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Arab News that it is important to know what Amr will do to advance the Palestinian issue in Washington, especially considering the current right. Israeli political environment.

“The real question for us as Palestinians is what Mr. Amr’s term will be in this new post, as Israel moves towards more extremist policies against the Palestinians,” he said.

“Will Amr oversee and implement the policy goals set out by Mr. Biden, or just give us another two years of running around in circles with no real results on the ground?”

Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, praised Amr, telling Arab News that he is someone Palestinians can trust.

However, Abu Yousef argued that while Amr’s appointment may have symbolic significance for the US administration, it changes little on the ground as far as the Palestinians are concerned.

The Biden administration’s reluctance to take “tangible steps” toward the Palestinians shows that it is only interested in “conflict management,” not a solution.

Jim Moran, a former US congressman from Virginia, said he understands the Palestinian frustration with the Biden administration and the lack of enthusiasm for Amr’s appointment, but added that “that’s because they just don’t know how hard Amr has fought to get representation in Washington. .”

Moran said: “Amr has fought very hard to give the Palestinians representation and a voice in Washington.”

Amr had to overcome “objections and insurmountable obstacles from people in Washington who opposed this move,” he said.

“Amr is a genuine hero and one who cares about the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.”

A PA official who spoke to Arab News on condition of anonymity said that part of the problem the PA has with the Biden administration is that it has refused to take any real steps to undo steps taken by the Trump administration as part of his so-called “deal of the century”.

“The lack of action by the Biden administration tells the Palestinians that Trump’s deal of the century is still in place under the Biden administration.

“While Amr is highly respected within the Palestinian leadership, this appointment is not enough to make us think that the Biden administration is serious about its commitment to the two-state solution.”

In 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an illegal move under international law, and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as part of the proposed deal.

The deal called for giving Palestinians economic incentives and privileges within a disjointed patchwork of territories within the occupied West Bank.

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