Biden names special representative for Palestinian affairs

In what can be termed a significant decision for US-Palestine relationships, US President Joe Biden has appointed a new special representative for Palestinian affairs. Hady Amr, previously the deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, has been promoted to the newly created role, Axios and the Times of Israel reported. The position will be based in Washington.

The publications reported that Amr will work with the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, besides with the diplomats at the Jerusalem-based office of Palestinian affairs. Notably, the American diplomatic mission in Jerusalem that was shut down by Donald Trump in 2019, is yet to reopen.

According to some reports, Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, initially was not on board with the idea of having a special representative since he feared that Biden might not live up to his campaign pledge of reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem. However, the US has always maintained that it is working to reopen the Jerusalem mission. It has also affirmed its commitment towards a two-state solution to the conflict.

Amr is a Lebanese American and used to work as an economist and foreign policy analyst before joining the Clinton administration’s department of defence. He has been involved with roles linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2014. Both Israeli and Palestinian diplomats hold him in high regard.

Palestinians living in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have had a violent year, with over 130 people having lost their lives so far. 

(With inputs from agencies)