Palestinian National Authority (PNA)’s Civil Affairs Minister Husein al-Shaykh had the first official contact with a senior U.S. official in the Joe Biden administration last night, following the suspension of relations during Donald Trump’s term.
Shaykh, a close associate of President Mahmoud Abbas, said he had “a positive conversation” with Hady Amr, deputy assistant secretary for Palestinian and Israeli affairs at the U.S. State Department, with whom he agreed to “continue communication.”
In a phone call, they discussed “bilateral relations, latest current events and policy,” tweeted Al Shaykh, who is also primarily responsible for managing the PNA’s coordination of relations with Israel.
The Palestinian leadership broke off official contact with the Trump administration in late 2017, when the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
During Trump’s tenure, the U.S. also shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Washington and presented a peace plan validating the Israeli annexation of part of the occupied West Bank, in addition to managing to broker peace agreements between Israel and the Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain .
With Biden, the PNA is trying to build bridges and hopes that Washington will return to traditional policies on the conflict, which could undermine the progress made by Trump’s administration to bring Israel closer to the Arab countries.
The Palestinian leadership has reiterated its willingness to work with the Democratic administration and to return to the peace process.