Palestinian officers eager for Biden victory, public not a lot

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Oct 16, 2020

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian Authority is ready in anticipation for the Nov. three US presidential elections, hoping that the incumbent Republican candidate, Donald Trump, will lose and depart workplace.

Ever for the reason that Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed the Oslo Accords on the White House in 1993, Palestinian-US relations have by no means been as poor as they’re now, throughout the Trump period.

Since he was sworn in in January 2017, Trump has made a collection of choices that pushed the Palestinians to sever relations with the United States. First, he acknowledged Jerusalem because the capital of Israel, moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, stopped funding for UNRWA and proposed the Mideast peace plan that dropped the two-state resolution, legitimized Israeli settlements and supported Israel’s plan to annex 30% of the West Bank. He additionally pushed to shut the PLO’s workplace in Washington.

In his first public and direct assertion concerning the US elections, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh expressed his hope for a greater future for Palestinian-US relations, in addition to Palestinian-Israeli relations within the occasion that the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, wins.

In a speech earlier than the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on Oct. 12, Shtayyeh expressed his fear of Trump successful a second time period, wishing he would fail, noting that ought to Trump win, “we would have to live with this for another four years; may God help us, help you, and help the whole world.”

Shtayyeh continued, “I believe if things change in the US, it will directly affect Palestinian-Israeli relations and Palestinian-US relations,” including that the outcomes of the US elections and the doable fourth Israeli elections may have “very serious consequences on us and on the peace process, as well as the future European role with regard to the Middle East.”

The Palestinians imagine that enchancment is feasible ought to Biden win, however it could solely be restricted to the bilateral relationship with Washington, with none change within the technique of the political settlement with Israel.

PLO Central Council member Nabil Amr advised Al-Monitor that within the occasion Biden wins the presidential elections, no main change might occur. It would solely be restricted to bilateral relations between the PA and the US, particularly since Biden’s group had promised Palestinians for the scenario to return because it was pre-Trump.

He famous that Biden is anticipated to take a stance by re-financing UNRWA, reopening the PLO workplace in Washington, and reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which Trump closed with the switch of the embassy to town from Tel Aviv, including, “There will be a change in bilateral Palestinian-US relations, [but] not in terms of a political settlement and launching a program and plan for negotiations that the Palestinians would be satisfied with.”

Amr identified that a number of challenges might impede Biden from transferring ahead with the implementation of a political settlement to the Palestinian trigger, most notably the intense proper’s management of the reins of energy in Israel, particularly Benjamin Netanyahu. The latter had thwarted the efforts of the earlier US administration led by Secretary of State John Kerry, as a consequence of Netanyahu’s robust relations with US Congress.

Nasser al-Qudwa, a distinguished Palestinian diplomat and member of Fatah’s Central Committee, advised Al-Monitor, “The Palestinians are wishing for a change in the White House and hope US policies in the Middle East would change with Trump’s failure since those policies were biased toward Israel and the hard-line Israeli right.”

Qudwa identified that there aren’t any expectations the brand new US management shall be pleasant to the Palestinians and undertake their positions ought to Biden win; however irrespective of how a lot the Biden administration might be biased towards Israel, it is not going to be as a lot as Trump is.

Although the official Palestinian place is clinging onto the little hope of Biden successful and bringing about change, even when it’s only restricted to the bilateral relationship, the Palestinian public opinion will not be relying on it.

A September ballot performed by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research within the West Bank and Gaza Strip confirmed that 61% of Palestinians count on Trump to lose the upcoming US elections, and 30% count on him to win. Meanwhile, 21% of the Palestinians count on higher Palestinian-US relations if Biden wins the elections, whereas 34% imagine the present US coverage is not going to change if Biden wins, and 35% imagine that circumstances might change for the more serious.

Director Khalil Shikaki advised Al-Monitor that Palestinian public opinion believes that the US administration is biased and supportive of Israel whatever the occasion in energy, including, “Since the Oslo Accords were signed, the Palestinian public opinion has not changed and continues to see that US policy in the Middle East is biased toward Israel and controlled by the pro-Israel forces in the US.”

Shikaki added that the Palestinians “do not see Trump’s decisions as an odd thing, but rather believe that it is a continuation of US policy, and that Trump has made great steps to stop the previous pattern of [subtle] US support for Israel, and expressed absolute and explicit support for Israel,” and that this help is the essence of the US coverage.

He defined that solely 21% of the Palestinians imagine that Biden could also be completely different from Trump and that he’ll make adjustments in US coverage in favor of the Palestinians and the connection with them.

Speaking concerning the distinction between the opinion of the official political elites and the general public opinion concerning Biden’s victory, Shikaki mentioned that the official place seems to be on the matter from particular political facets, reminiscent of Biden’s rejection of the Israeli plan to annex lands from the West Bank and his guarantees to reopen the PLO workplace in Washington and restore monetary help to the PA or to UNRWA. 

He added that Biden has proven an intention to revive the nuclear settlement with Iran, which can remove the pretext of the Iranian menace that Trump is waving to advance relations between Israel and Arab international locations. Meanwhile, Shikaki continued, the Palestinian public believes that the skin world is not going to save the Palestinians, and thus they need to not watch for adjustments however reasonably unite their ranks and develop a method to confront the occupation.