RAMALLAH: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Thursday for talks on reviving a two-state solution to the conflict, Abbas’s office said.
It was one of the highest-level meetings with an American official in recent years for the 86-year-old Palestinian president. Abbas urged US action on what he described as “unilateral Israeli practices” that “undermine a two-state solution.”
Those included expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and moves to evict Palestinians from various parts of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital.
Relations between the US and the Palestinian Authority effectively collapsed during former president Donald Trump’s administration, notably after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital.”
There have been a series of US outreaches to Abbas and the PA since President Joe Biden took office last year. Palestinian opinion polls show that support for Abbas and the PA are at historic lows, especially after the aging president scrapped plans to hold elections last year.
Experts say Washington is keen to work with its staunch ally Israel to bolster the embattled PA, especially as a bulwark against Hamas, the extremist group that controls the Gaza strip.
Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by much of the West.
Pelosi, who was leading a delegation of eight Democratic party lawmakers to the region, had previously met top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier Thursday.
Bennett thanked her for her “ongoing support for Israel.”
In talks with Israeli officials, Pelosi and the US delegation affirmed “America’s ironclad commitment to the State of Israel,” the speaker’s office said in a statement. “We repeatedly reaffirmed America’s commitment to a just and enduring two-state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians and their neighbors.”
Original Article: https://www.arabnews.com/node/2027001/middle-east