WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration is crafting a plan aimed at reestablishing US ties with the Palestinians that nearly collapsed under former President Donald Trump, according to a draft internal memo.
Two people familiar with the State Department document, which was first reported by the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National, said it was still in an initial “working stage” but could eventually form the basis for reversing parts of Trump’s approach that he denounced as too biased in favor of Israel.
Since President Joe Biden took office on January 20, his aides have said they intend to repair relations with the Palestinians. The administration has pledged to resume hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance and work to reopen the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.
Biden’s aides have also made it clear that they want to reestablish the goal of a negotiated two-state solution as a priority in US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But they have moved cautiously with Israel’s March 23 elections looming, followed by Palestinian elections scheduled for the next few months.
A part of the draft memorandum cited by The National said that the vision of the United States is “to promote freedom, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians in the immediate term.”
The document was quoted as saying that $ 15 million in COVID-19 pandemic aid to the Palestinians could be announced by the end of March. He is also reported to take a tougher stance on Israeli settlement activities, citing efforts “to obtain a Palestinian commitment to end payments to people imprisoned (by Israel) for acts of terrorism.”
One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the document was a preliminary draft subject to review and that any final version would require an inter-agency review.
“We have no comment on that specific memo,” US State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters in a daily briefing.
Report by Matt Spetalnick in Washington, additional report by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv; edit by Grant McCool