US President Joe Biden is being criticised for not pressuring Israel to abandon its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations.

Palestinian FM Malki hopes to restart peace negotiations with the UN, EU, US and Russia - the Quartet on the Middle East.
Palestinian FM Malki hopes to restart peace negotiations with the UN, EU, US and Russia - the Quartet on the Middle East. (Reuters Archive)

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki has criticised US President Joe Biden for moving too slowly to reverse all of the Trump administration’s adverse policies against the Palestinians.

Malki told the UN Security Council on Thursday there were hopes that the end of Donald Trump’s administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “would be enough to pave the way for renewed momentum for peace.”

He also criticised Biden for not using Washington's special relationship to pressure Israel to abandon “its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations.”

After Biden took office a year ago, the Palestinians thought the United States “could try to move the Israeli position toward us,” Malki told reporters. “But we have seen that the Israeli position has been able to move the American position a little bit towards them and this is really what troubles us very much.”

While the Biden administration reversed several ”unlawful and ill-advised" Trump policies, he said it has been slow to act, especially on the US commitment to reopen the US consulate in occupied East Jerusalem which would restore Washington’s main diplomatic mission for the Palestinians in the contested city.

The US “has yet to ensure the current Israeli government renounces its colonial policies and abandons its rejection of the two-state solution and peace negotiations,” Malki said.

“This is an unacceptable stance that should neither be tolerated nor excused and must be reversed.”

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Looking ahead

Biden won initial but cautious plaudits from Mideast analysts when he seemingly rejected the Trump administration’s unabashedly pro-Israel stance and restored aid and diplomatic contacts with Palestinian leaders.

Yet the Biden administration has also retained key elements of Trump’s policies, including several that broke with long-standing US positions on the city of Jerusalem and the legitimacy of Israeli settlements that are illegal under international humanitarian law.

Malki said he had “a very open, frank discussion” earlier Wednesday with US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, including on US-Palestinian relations, the peace process, Palestinian expectations from the US and “what they are trying to do in the near future in order to see things moving forward in the right direction.”

He said the UN, EU and Russia have agreed to a ministerial meeting but “we’re still waiting for the approval of the American side of the Quartet.

Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador, made no mention of the meeting with Malki or the Quartet in her briefing to the council, but she reaffirmed the Biden administration’s “strong support for a two-state solution” and said “this year offers an opportunity to recommit to reaching a political solution to the conflict.”

The US envoy, who visited Israel and the occupied West Bank in November, reiterated that Israel and the Palestinians “are locked in a spiral of distrust.”

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies