The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that they would be restoring diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, Times of Israel reports.
As part of this reestablishment of relations, the United States will be restoring diplomatic aid to the Palestinian authority, a move which has been heavily criticized by pro-Israel groups.
Critics of the decision warn that US diplomatic aid may go towards the Palestinian policy of "pay-for-slay," whereby the Palestinian Authority pays the families of terrorists who murder Israeli civilians.
The Trump administration had previously cut off significant amounts of diplomatic aid to the Palestinian Authority due to this pay-for-slay policy, saying that the aid would be restored when the Palestinians abandon that practice. However, the Biden administration does not appear to have concerns about that fiscal policy.
Despite warnings from the United States as well as other countries, such as Russia, that paying the families of terrorists harms the peace process, the Palestinian Authority has argued that it is a necessary social welfare policy. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority began to reconsider the policy after the Trump administration cut off aid. It is unclear if they still plan to reexamine the policy in the face of a Biden administration diplomatic olive branch.
The Biden administration will also be reopening diplomatic offices in Palestinian Authority controlled land. Under the Trump administration, Palestinians seeking to engage in diplomatic relations with the United States had to go through American missions in Israel.
"Under the new administration, the policy of the United States will be to support a mutually agreed two-state solution, one in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state," said acting American ambassador to the UN Richard Mills.
"In order to advance these objectives, the Biden administration will restore credible US engagement with Palestinians as well as Israelis," Mills said.
"President Biden has been clear that he intends to restore US assistance programs that support economic development programs and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, and to take steps to reopen diplomatic relations that were closed by the last US administration," Mills continued.
Biden had promised during his presidential campaign that he would allow the Palestinians to reopen a diplomatic mission in Washington, a move which may be complicated by legislation. Under American law, it is illegal for the Palestinian Authority to open a diplomatic mission in Washington if they bring charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court, which the Palestinian Authority did in 2017.
Reopening a diplomatic office for the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem may also be challenging for the Biden administration, which could face difficulties in obtaining a permit from the Israeli government. The Israeli government greatly enjoyed the pro-Israel policies of President Donald Trump.
These included recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem, and the opening of negotiations that led to peace in the region between Israel and her Arab neighbours.
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