Palestinian president congratulates Biden, urges strengthening of ties after fallout

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Joe Biden on Sunday on winning the US presidency.

“I congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory as President of the United States of America for the coming period,” Abbas said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with the President-elect and his administration to strengthen the Palestinian-American relations and to achieve freedom, independence, justice and dignity for our people, as well as to work for peace, stability and security for all in our region and the world,” he added.

Read more: Trump doesn't concede to President-elect Biden, says election 'far from over'

Biden has promised to restore economic assistance to the Palestinians and reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, moves that reverse steps taken by US President Donald Trump’s administration.

“We will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington,” Biden's runinng mater Kamala Harris said last week in an interview with The Arab American.

Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris in Delaware. (AFP)
Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris in Delaware. (AFP)

Under Trump, the State Department cut more than $200 million in aid to the West Bank and Gaza, and $25 million in aid for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in 2018.

The US consulate in East Jerusalem was closed last year by the Trump administration.

Biden, who formerly served as vice president under President Barack Obama, has also spoken out against Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands and condemned US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, largely denounced by Palestinians as biased towards Israel.

Another PLO official, Hanan Ashrawi, weighed in on the election on Saturday, celebrating the defeat of Trump in a tweet that said: "America Detrumped!"

While Palestinian officials may be optimistic for a Biden presidency, Palestinian polling has found that the public is wary.

Only 21 percent of Palestinians believe a Joe Biden presidency will lead to positive policy change, a poll conducted in September by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) said.

The public opinion poll found that 35 percent of Palestinians living in the Palestinian Territories expect US policy towards Palestine to become worse under Biden, with another 34 percent believing the American policy will not change.

It did not measure the views of Palestinians living outside of Palestine.

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