Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged US President-elect Joe Biden to strengthen relations with Palestine, indicating that he will end his three-year political boycott of the White House.
In a statement issued from his office in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, Abbas congratulated Biden on his victory in the race against incumbent President Donald Trump.
“I look forward to working with the president-elect and his administration to strengthen the Palestinian-American relations and to achieve freedom, independence, justice and dignity for our people.”
Abbas had cut all political dealings with the Trump administration after the American president recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel in December 2017 and later relocated the US diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds in a highly provocative move.
The decision sparked outrage among Palestinians, who deem Jerusalem al-Quds as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
The boycott has been warmly welcomed by Palestinians, who celebrated Trump’s defeat on the streets on Sunday.
Back in January, Trump unveiled a controversial land grab plan – dubbed the ‘deal of the century peace initiative’ – which blatantly undermines Palestine’s right to statehood in exchange for vague promises of basic economic opportunities.
The scheme, made without input from the Palestinians, was harshly rejected by Abbas and all Palestinian factions and parties and triggered waves of protests among Palestinians.
Recently, Trump brokered much-condemned normalization deals between the Tel Aviv regime and three Muslim countries, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan.
The outgoing US president has also cut funding to the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
In his four-year tenure, Trump has refused to condemn Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, breaking with a decades-long Washington policy that settlement expansion is an obstacle to “peace.”
Separately on Sunday, Bassam al-Salhe, a senior member of the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the boycott was primarily linked to “the hostile policy” of the Trump administration.
“When Biden announces that this is going to change – and he announced that during his election campaign – there will be no reason for the boycott.”
Biden, 77, has already said he will restore funding to the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip that Trump had slashed, including aid delivered through the US Agency for International Development and UN agencies.
In the past, Biden had expressed his opposition to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, voicing support for the so-called two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
But the president-elect is unlikely to reverse the decision on the issue of Jerusalem al-Quds and the US embassy. He has also welcomed Tel Aviv’s normalization deals with Abu Dhabi, Manama, and Khartoum.