Photo Credit: Flash 90
Palestinian Authority chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Saeb Erekat, speaks during a press conference in the city of Jericho on February 15, 2017.

The Palestinian Authority continues to loudly denounce the role of the United States in mediating peace with Israel, but meanwhile is quietly cooperating with back-channel efforts to build ties between the two sides.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said during a meeting in Ramallah with Sweden’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Annika Söder, “The U.S. cannot be a mediator or partner in the peace process unless it withdraws its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, because it makes no sense for Palestine to be without East Jerusalem as its capital,” according to the PA’s official WAFA news agency.

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But while Erekat – and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas – continue to beat the drums of hate against the United States – the Ramallah government continues its behind-the-scenes work on infrastructure-building with Israel and Washington. This week the Palestinian Authority signed another electricity agreement with Israel, signaling a tightening of ties, rather than a deepening of the boycott of Israel loudly urged and encouraged by the Ramallah government.

Nevertheless, Erekat continues to malign the American government in front of the microphones. “No one will deceive us and we will not fall into the illusion that the United States can have any balanced ideas that could lead to the achievement of a real and just peace,” he said. “Washington has become part of the problem and not the solution.”

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during a March 27 meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York, however, that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are “part of the problem” — not Washington.

The prince was quoted by Israel’s Channel 10 as having said, “In the last 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed again and again the opportunities and rebuffed all the offers it was given. It is time for the Palestinians to accept the offers and agree to sit at the negotiating table – or they should shut up and stop complaining.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.