Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Jerusalem [Israel], June 4 (ANI/TPS): Israel Security Agency chief Ronen Bar met with senior Biden administration officials in Washington, DC, on Thursday to address US concerns about the stability of the Palestinian Authority.

The Washington trip comes against the backdrop of a series of deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent months, including the killing on May 30 near Hermesh of Meir Tamari.

It also comes several weeks after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended five days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer were also in Washington last week, for talks with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Those meetings focused on "a broad range of global and regional issues of mutual concern," according to the White House.

Sullivan also reaffirmed Washington's goal "of further enhancing Israel's security and economic integration throughout the Middle East" and "stressed the need to take additional steps to improve the lives of Palestinians, critical to realizing a more peaceful, prosperous, and integrated region," the White House said in a statement.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, 87, said last month that any effort to replace the PLO at a time of challenges to the terrorist organization's authority by Hamas and PIJ would fail.

However, recent Palestinian student elections point to growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority, the ruling Fatah party and Abbas personally.

Hamas secured crucial victories in student council elections at the Bir Zeit and Al Najah Universities.

"The election results reflect well the political balance of power within the territories of the Palestinian Authority, and indicate," in their opinion, "the rise of Hamas at the expense of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, which is fading," sources told the Tazpit Press Service at the time.

The election results reinforce opinion polls showing widespread dissatisfaction with the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinians have not held national elections since 2005 and Abbas is now in the 18th year of what was supposed to be a four-year term. Since then, Abbas has cancelled several attempted elections amid Fatah-Hamas disagreements, most recently in 2021. (ANI/TPS)

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