U.S. election prompts Palestinian Authority to resume relations with Israel

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Nov. 17 (UPI) — The Palestinian Authority announced Tuesday it will resume its relationship with Israel that has been stalled since May over Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.

A Palestinian Authority spokesman said that the Palestinian Authority had been waiting for a clear position from President-elect Joe Biden to act, Haaretz reported.

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The spokesman added that leadership expects Biden to be different than the Trump administration and recognize international community agreements.

U.S.-Palestinian relations were expected to improve if Biden won the election. President Donald Trump has supported the West Bank annexation plan, calling it part of a “deal of the century,” for the Middle East, along with recent Arab-Israel normalization, while Biden has opposed the unilateral Israeli action.

The New York Times reported that while the Arab-Israel normalization agreement suspended annexation, Palestinians had been waiting to assure the annexation would not be carried out, and the election of Biden gave them the assurance they needed.

An Israeli defense official also said the election of Biden as U.S. president facilitated the agreement.

Palestinian Authority minister Hussein al-Sheikh announced the resumed relationship on Twitter, saying the “relationship with #Israel will return to how it was.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ended cooperation in a security agreement with Israel and the United States in May over plans to annex parts of the West Bank, and also cut civilian ties between the countries, exacerbating economic issues such as work permits and trade amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had supported the annexation of territory on the occupied West Bank, which Palestinians have counted on for a future state.