CIA director William Burns’ visit to Israel shows that the Biden administration is serious about restoring Washington’s relations with the Palestinians, said a Palestinian Authority official.
https://www.jpost.com-By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
William ‘Bill’ Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., July 11, 2019.(photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority welcomes the decision of the Biden administration to dispatch CIA director William Burns to Israel and the West Bank, a Palestinian official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post.
“The visit shows that the Biden administration is serious about restoring Washington’s relations with the Palestinians and strengthening the Palestinian leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas,” the official said.
“The Biden administration’s policy toward the Palestinians is very good,” the official added, noting that Burns was expected to meet in Ramallah with Abbas and Majed Faraj, head of the PA General Intelligence Service.
Faraj and senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs, are seen by many Palestinians as the de facto rulers of the PA. The two are said to have huge influence on the 85-year-old Abbas.
The official told the Post that the Palestinians are “very satisfied” with the Biden administration’s policy of “strengthening” the PA.
“The Palestinian Authority is facing a sharp financial crisis and we need urgent aid,” he said. “Failure to support the Palestinian Authority means that Hamas will come to power in the West Bank.”
An unconfirmed report in the Arab media outlet Arabi 21 claimed that the PA, Israel and the Biden administration recently reached a “secret agreement” that allows the US to increase its intervention in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.
The report quoted unnamed sources as saying that the agreement, reached after the visit of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Palestinian and Israeli Affairs Hadi Amr to the region, allows the Biden administration to “impose strict control over Palestinian media and educational curricula and reactivate the tripartite American-Israeli-Palestinian anti-incitement committee.”
The alleged agreement, the sources said, calls for the formation of an American-Israeli committee that would work on all corruption files in the PA in order to restore and improve its image among the Palestinians.
Among the matters imposed by the Israeli-American committee on the PA, the sources added, is “the auditing of the documents and accounts of the Palestinian Ministry of Finance in Ramallah by American and international accounting and auditing companies.”
As part of the US effort to bolster the standing of the PA among Palestinians, the Biden administration has asked the Palestinian leadership to conduct an effective and transparent investigation into the killing of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat and to complete the matter within three months.
Banat, a prominent critic of the PA, was beaten to death by PA security officers who raided his home in Hebron on June 24. The PA said that 14 officers have been detained, but no one has been indicted so far.
Some Palestinian factions on Monday expressed concern over the Biden administration’s plan to strengthen the PA.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization warned of the “dangerous consequences” of the proffered relations between the PA and the Israelis and Americans. The Gaza-based terrorist group also warned the PA against resuming the peace negotiations with Israel and called on Palestinians to “confront all schemes that aim to undermine our rights and our principles, and to pay attention to all attempts to circumvent the revolution of our people who are rising up in the face of the occupation.”
The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) denounced continuing security coordination between the PA and Israel and the US.
“The matter is very dangerous and requires the Palestinian Authority to assume its political, legal and moral responsibilities towards its people,” the DFLP said in a statement.