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June 15, 2021 3:15 pm
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Palestinians Form Special Negotiating Team for Israel Talks at Biden Administration Request: Report

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A member of the Palestinian Authority (PA)  security forces gestures as he speaks with a truck occupant at a checkpoint after PA President Mahmoud Abbas extended a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, in the West Bank city of Hebron, May 5, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

The Biden administration has initiated the appointment of a new negotiating team of Palestinians to help catalyze renewed peace talks with Israel, following the inauguration of the Jewish state’s new government.

According to a senior official in Ramallah, who was cited by Israel’s Channel 12 news report, the Palestinian Authority negotiating team will come to the table with a number of demands. The PA will reportedly seek to return to the situation before Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, which saw an intensive military operation in the West Bank to stop terrorist attacks.

Palestinians will also demand that the Israel Defense Forces cease to be allowed to enter Area A of the West Bank, which is under PA control. Additionally, they will reportedly ask to have expanded authority, including on security issues, in Areas B and C. Area B’s administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Furthermore, the Palestinians will also want to request a series of confidence-building measures from Israel aimed at preserving the vision of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Channel 12, the PA is banking on holding the talks with Israels’ Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, rather than the more right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has not been in favor of a two-state solution.

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On the American side of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Biden administration is set to appoint Hady Amr, who currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs. According to the report, the US is likely to name Amr as consul-general to the Palestinians as soon as the consulate in Jerusalem is reopened.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense declined an Algemeiner request to comment on the report. The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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