The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, told US lawmakers on Wednesday that "Israel is destroying the two-state solution systematically." Shtayyeh made his comment during a meeting with a US congressional delegation in Ramallah.
He told delegation members that the occupation state's "settlement campaign" is plunging the region into a perilous situation, as are its "ongoing human rights violations." All of Israel's settlements are illegal under international law.
Shtayyeh briefed the delegation, led by Senator Chris Coons, the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, on the prospects of the moribund peace process and bilateral relations with the US.
According to Wafa news agency, he stressed the need for the US administration to fulfil its electoral pledges. First and foremost among these is the reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which served as a mainstay of bilateral Palestinian-US relations.
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The prime minister also slammed the Israeli designation of six prominent Palestinian civil society and human rights groups as "terrorist organisations". These organisations, he explained, advocate locally and internationally for Palestinian human rights, and provide services and support to women, children, farmers and prisoners. Thousands of Palestinians across the occupied territories benefit from their work.
Shtayyeh called upon the US Congress to put pressure on Israel to respect all signed agreements, which serve as a key to any future political track. Importantly, the occupation authorities should enable the Palestinian leadership to hold elections in all of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem.
Describing the US administration's condemnation of Israel's colonial settlement construction as "a step in the right direction", he urged it to translate such criticism into concrete and deterrent actions to preserve the two-state solution.
Congress, added the Palestinian official, should push for the amendment of laws and regulations that target the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation and link them to terrorism. The development of bilateral relations that are not centred on Israel is also important, he concluded.