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Political analysts welcome US move to restore ties with Palestinians, UNRWA

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jan 27,2021 - Last updated at Jan 27,2021

AMMAN — Political analysts have welcomed US President Joe Biden’s administration’s announcement regarding restoring ties with Palestinian leaders and resuming funding to UNRWA as a step in the right direction.

Biden, from the onset of his election campaign showed more willingness to listen to different viewpoints towards various issues, including the Palestinian cause, political analyst and commentator Bader Madi told The Jordan Times on Wednesday over the phone.

The US president in his campaign discussed the importance of opening channels for dialogue with Palestinian leaders and leaders in the region to discuss the Palestinian cause, Madi said, noting that the current US administration is against former president Donald Trump’s one-sided approach, which resulted in completely cutting ties with the Palestinians.

“No one was able to pressure Trump into giving Palestinians a chance to express themselves regarding the future of establishing an independent Palestinian state,” Madi said, adding that “Biden’s administration, however, proved that it cannot keep on ignoring Palestinian rights, as that would further disrupt the political system in the region and the world”.

As for the decision of resuming US funds to UNRWA, the analyst said that the refugee agency plays an important role for Palestinian refugees around the world, and financial support is the administration’s way of acknowledging the importance of the refugee issue.

UNRWA spokesperson Sami Mshasha, in a statement shared with The Jordan Times on Wednesday, welcomed the return of US support to UNRWA, noting that the date for the return and the overall amount are still unclear.

“The decision to reopen the Palestinian consulate in Washington, DC, is strategic and very important, and it must be utilised to initiate true contact with the US Administration, which makes it easier for Palestinian leaders to be, in one way or another, a part of the decision-making circle in the US,” Madi said.

For his part, professor of political science at the Hashemite University Jamal Shalabi said that Biden’s decisions are “correct and wise”, as the new administration is “trying to correct the diplomatic mistakes committed by the Trump administration, who was biased and disrespectful of international initiatives”.

Shalabi said that Biden wants to portray the US as an objective and credible mediator.

“The US would not have any role to play in the Middle East without taking a balanced stance, otherwise it would lose this role to the rival countries, especially Russia,” Shalabi said.

The professor highlighted some of Biden’s decisions such as recommitting to the Paris Climate Agreement, the determination to amend relations with Europe, and the handling of relations with China based on interests rather than threats.

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