The Interview

US can no longer be 'sole mediator' for peace with Israel, says Palestinian PM

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh spoke to FRANCE 24 on February 7, 2021.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh spoke to FRANCE 24 on February 7, 2021. © FRANCE 24 screengrab

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh hailed a ruling by the International Criminal Court allowing an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian factions. He urged the court’s chief prosecutor to open a formal probe, noting that it would be an important step towards the international recognition of Palestine as a state.

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Speaking to FRANCE 24 just days after the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that it has jurisdiction in the Palestinian Territories, paving the way for a criminal investigations into possible war crimes or atrocities committed by both sides, Shtayyeh stressed that Israel was the main aggressor.

He also expressed confidence, following his first contacts with the Biden administration, that the US would soon reopen the Palestinian diplomatic bureau in Washington as well a US consulate in East Jerusalem and would resume aid to the Palestinians.

Shtayyeh, however, acknowledged that the new US administration was not very likely to rescind the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is why, Shtayyeh claimed, a real peace process could not be mediated solely by the US and a broader international involvement was necessary to bring about a two-state solution. Such an effort, he noted, should include regional players such as Jordan and Egypt, as well as Europe, Russia and China.

He regretted the recent decisions by several Arab countries to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel, stressing that it had brought “nothing” for the Palestinians and urged Arab powers to once again reunite behind the Palestinian cause.

Finally, Shtayyeh expressed confidence that Palestinian legislative and presidential elections would take place in the coming months, adding that he believed that such elections would pave the way for a true reconciliation between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas.

 

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