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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised improved relations with the US under President Joe Biden at the UN General Assembly on Friday — a stark contrast to the collapse of US-Palestinian ties during the Trump administration.
Addressing the assembly in New York, Mr Abbas described a “constructive dialogue” with the Biden administration that was reviving US-Palestinian ties and raising prospects for peace talks with Israel.
Relations between Washington and the Palestinians tanked under former president Donald Trump, whose attempts at peacemaking offered Palestinians only a fragmented and scaled back version of their longed-for state.
“I wish to refer here to the constructive dialogue currently under way with the US administration to resume Palestinian-US relations,” Mr Abbas said in a recorded address.
“We will strive to succeed in this endeavour so as to create conditions conducive to moving swiftly towards a final political settlement that ends the Israeli occupation of our country.”
He spoke less warmly about the new Israeli government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which in June ended conservative Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as Israel’s longest-serving leader.
Israel’s new coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties had shown as little sincere interest in letting Palestinians run their own affairs as its predecessor, he said.
“The current and former Israeli governments have persisted in evading the two-state solution” in which Palestinians would control their own nation, said Mr Abbas.
They have instead “insisted on pursuing occupation and military control over the Palestinian people while presenting illusionary economic and security plans as an alternative”.
The Palestinians seek an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, all territory captured by Israel in 1967. Most countries view Israeli settlements in these areas as illegal, though Israel and some settler groups cite biblical and historical ties to the land.