Transcript- Special Representative Hady Amr on US-Palestinian Relations

Hady Amr video

Fri, Jun 30, 2023 11:00AM • 43:11


Hadar Susskind  00:17

Hello, everybody. Nice to see you all. I'm Hadar Susskind. I'm the president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now, thank you for joining us for this webinar. In a moment, I will introduce our special guest. But first, I will take part in the time-honored Washington tradition of filibustering for a minute or two, while all of the participants join the zoom. So, again, thank you very much, we appreciate you taking time to be with us today. Also, by the way, today's the second day of Eid Al Adha. So happy holidays to everybody who is celebrating the Eid. And now I'm going to go ahead and introduce our special guest. As it keeps saying special US Special Representative for Palestinian affairs. Hady Amr. Hady, before we jump in, I just want to remind everybody, this webinar is going to be recorded, we'll have the audio version on our podcast, we'll have the video on the YouTube channel, we'll share it out. So if people want to listen, see, etc, you will be able to do so. So again, Hady, thank you for joining us, you know, just for those of you who perhaps are not yet familiar with him, he is really a remarkable American diplomat with frankly, one of the toughest jobs in the in the State Department, Special Representative for Palestinian affairs. And, you know, this is a new role. So maybe some of you aren't so familiar with it. It was created by the Biden Administration to work closely with Palestinian leadership, and closely I think, with Ambassador Nides as well to really engage Israelis and Palestinians. So special representative Amr, Hady, I want to welcome you, I want to thank you for joining us. And you know, I'm just going to start us off with a question again, like I said, you're in this role, it's the first time, it was recently created. So can you tell us more about what prompted President Biden and Secretary Blinken to create this office, and really the way it serves in our country's diplomatic efforts, visa vis the Palestinians?


Special Representative Hady Amr  02:14

Thanks Hadar, and really, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all, to speak with you all and learn from you all, as well. And I'm really grateful for the work that you're doing. And the opportunity, I have to engage with all of you. So so first of all, I guess I'll just say, in terms of your question, from day one, the Biden administration has sought to renew our engagement with the Palestinian people and leadership. We started that really from the first days of the administration, President Biden and Secretary Blinken have spoken and engaged regularly with President Abbas, other members in the Palestinian leadership, you know, also as well as Palestinian civil society. And so it's my job, as the Special Representative for Palestinian affairs, together with the Jerusalem based office of Palestinian affairs that we have, to advance the US relationship with the Palestinian people, to advance the US relationship with the Palestinian leadership, in order to advance our mutual interests. So that's essentially the idea here. And that's kind of the framework under which the position was created.


Hadar Susskind  03:47

Excellent, thank you. So, you know, I'm not going to dance around it too much. It's obviously been an extremely, extremely difficult time, the last weeks, the last months, you know, on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza in Israel. Can you tell us a little bit, sort of from those last weeks and months like what what is your role? What has your role looked like? What it What have you been doing there and here and in building and strengthening those connections?


Special Representative Hady Amr  04:15

So again, thanks. And so, you know, look, together with Ambassador Nides, together with George Ball, the head of the Office of Palestinian affairs out there, together with Assistant Secretary Leaf and others, we are, you know, regularly engaging not only in Ramallah, but also in Jerusalem, in Jordan and Egypt with the UN and our European counterparts. And, you know, for me, what that means is, although I'm sitting here in Washington, DC today, I think I've made a half dozen trips just in the first six months of the year. out to the region. So I'm out there all the time. You know, I'm here, I'm there for a week back for three or four weeks back out there for a week again. So I'm out, I'm out on the ground all the time, engaging with our partners. And I'm gauging, you know, unfortunately, these days on trying to just de escalate the situation to, you know, preserve, just to de escalate the situation. And more broadly, I think around two fundamental pillars of this administration's approach to the situation out there. One, yes, is preserving the possibility of two states. And the other is, as you've heard the President, the Secretary say, you know, advancing equal measures of freedom, of security, of dignity, of justice, for Israelis and Palestinians alike, that's an aspiration. That's a goal. But that's what we're working towards, in the day to day, and it's not some some far off distant aspiration.


Hadar Susskind  06:10

Thank you. I just want to note, you know, before, before I keep going, some of you have already started to weigh in on the using the q&a button at the bottom of the screen, which is great. Those of you who are veterans of our webinars know that we will take as many of those questions and share them with, with special representative Amr as we can and get to those. So please, if you have questions, post them in the q&a.  So you mentioned you know, one of the goals, and frankly, what's been the main focus of American really, American diplomacy, visa vie, Israel and Palestinians, for so long, has been focused on that two state agenda and trying to bolster Palestinian institutions around the idea of a future sovereign state, everything in the economic realm courts, USAID projects, even the security forces. It seems like that is perhaps over the last few years changed that emphasis, not, of course, that this administration doesn't support Two States, it's been very clear about that, but recent language has been focused more on maintaining that possibility, rather than sort of trying to build those institutions of statehood.


Special Representative Hady Amr  07:23

Right, so look, and and let me just put out a few recent statements per se, so that people have them and make sure people have heard them, right. So a few months ago, the Secretary of State said, quote, "We believe that Palestinians and Israelis like people everywhere are entitled to the same rights," which is an important, I think framing by the Secretary. The President of the United States said, quote, "Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, freedom, prosperity and democracy." You know, and the President talked about two states along the 67 lines with with mutually agreed swats. So, you know, we're also right improved to committed to dramatically improving Palestinian governance, and strengthening the US Palestinian relationship, which frankly, goes back to the 1800s when we opened our first consul in Jerusalem for the mutual benefit of advancing our national interest. So, you know, when I think about your question you're asking about the imperative to kind of strengthen and bolster institutions and build and build towards, you know, creating the state? Absolutely. But we're trying to do it in the context of what is possible today. And so, you know, our efforts, our agenda is really kind of working in that working in that direction.


Hadar Susskind  09:07

So a quick follow up on that. So, you know, I think the language, certainly I am, I'm sure many of the folks here are familiar with the language that the Secretary and many of the administration have used about, you know, equal measures of rights, freedoms, etc, all of those pieces. So what does that really entail when we talk about equal rights? And I'm asking it, I think, you know, particularly you can speak to in terms of the way the US administration engages with Israeli leadership and Palestinians leadership. And what does he mean when Secretary Blinken or President Biden talks about equal rights?


Special Representative Hady Amr  09:43

Well, look, I mean, I think I think it means what it says right, which is that we believe that it is the way the world should be is that you know, Israelis and Palestinians enjoy the same freedoms. The same opportunities, the same security, the same safety. And, and that's what we that's what we articulate as our vision for what guides our policies. And, you know, so as we look at the situation on the ground, that's intellectual framework, which is I think, is very American framework, kind of derives in large part from who we are as a nation. That's what we apply to all that. And so yeah, I guess that's what I'd say.


Hadar Susskind  10:40

Okay. switch a little bit, one of the things you mentioned, was talking about Palestinian governance. And, you know, obviously, you said you work with, with the PA, also with civil society there. But there was a poll from Halil Shikaki at the Palestinian Center for Policy and research this week, that talked about being at the lowest point ever in Palestinian support for the PA with 80% of Palestinians polled saying a boss should resign, 84% saying they think the PA is corrupt, some number in the 60s, I think saying you know that it was a burden on the Palestinian people. Obviously, that's, you know, the PA is one of the main if not the main body that is there for you to engage in, you know, do you think that this, that the low credibility, according to this poll that they have with the Palestinians, does that impact our credibility and trying to work with the Palestinian people through the PA? And do you think there's anything that we as Americans can do about it, or anything that Israel can and should be doing about it?


Special Representative Hady Amr  11:47

Yeah, so I mean, I think that those are, those are good questions. And first of all, I want to be clear, it's always been about engaging both the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people. And, you know, we remain completely committed to engaging with the Palestinian Authority to do the important work they need to do in terms of reform and governance, transparency and accountability, reinforcing their commitment to non violence. And so we continue to engage with them on all of that. And, you know, look, we also, you know, we're also engaging closely with the Israeli government to make reforms that improve Palestinian lives in material ways. I mean, we know the situation is rough on the ground. But look, I want to highlight a few really key developments that have occurred over the last couple of years, that I think are really improving and stabilizing the situation. You know, one of them is that, you know, Israel has issued, I think, over 18,000 work permits for Palestinians from Gaza to work inside Israel. They're able to earn salaries in Israel that are multiples of what they earn in the Gaza Strip. I've had the opportunity to meet with many of those workers and hear how their lives have been transformed for the better. You know, over the course of the last few years, Israel has also dramatically increased Gaza's clean water supply by up to 40%, which has also been extremely important there. And they've also legalized the status, Israel's also legalized the status of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, improving dramatically the lives in themselves and their families. So, you know, I mean, you asked about, you know, what can we do to boost the PAs credibility, that's their job, that's not our job. Our job is to work with the government that we've been given to work with. But what we're doing right is trying to improve people's lives on the ground. As best we can, not only through, you know, those engagements, but also through our own foreign assistance. So just want to point out right, take this opportunity to point out that, since the outset of the Biden administration, we've provided well over a billion, maybe 1.1 or 1.2 billionn dollars to the Palestinian people. The line share of that is is to UNRWA. But we're in the process of providing about $40 million in justice and security assistance, a couple million dollars in demining assistance, $100 million, in people to people projects that we're in the process of implementing. And that goes without even mentioning our bilateral USAID program where we've given over $170 million in ESF funding or in the process of completing this year. So we really, you know, again, it's we don't see it as our job to, I don't see it as my job to build up anybody any other government's legitimacy, that's their relationship with their people. But what we do see as our job is engaging, and improving lives.


Hadar Susskind  15:21

Thanks. So two questions I want to put together. First of all, I just want to clarify for folks listening and you know, please add to this or correct, you know, all of the funding that you're talking to, I think you were very specific when you talked about 1.1, whatever the number was, billion that's gone to the Palestinian people, because of US law doesn't go through the Palestinian Authority. Correct?


Special Representative Hady Amr  15:45

Thank you so much. So I want to be completely clear, right, I said the Palestinian people? Our funding other than our security systems Partnership does not go through the Palestinian Authority, it's completely consistent with US law. And it does not go through the Palestinian Authority. So, you know, we've delivered over $900 million in assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA. We've, you know, and our USAID programming, again, doesn't go through or to a Palestinian Authority. It is it is delivered completely consistent with US law, again, our security systems, does engage the Palestinian Authority, which is consistent with US law. Sure.


Hadar Susskind  16:34

Thank you. So I'm gonna bundle a couple of the questions that have come in from our participants here. One is about the question about whether you are engaging with in your role Palestinian Americans particularly, and how that plays out for you. And then I'm going to get it get into the meaty piece, you know, question of the week. You know, there's so much talk right now, so much news around Israel's possible entry into the Visa Waiver Program. And I'm curious what you can share, from your perspective from your office's perspective, as I'm assuming here, so correct me, but as an office that I imagine part of that role is engaging with Palestinian Americans, and that you've been hearing from them on their views on Israel on the Visa Waiver Program so much those questions together and hand them over.


Special Representative Hady Amr  17:21

Sure. Sure. Thank you so much. So yeah, look, not only my office, right, but many, many offices within the US government engage closely with a wide range of constituencies. In the United States, American Jewish community, Palestinian American community, Arab American community, more broadly, American Muslim community. So there's, there's a lot of regular and consistent engagement, you know, with all of these communities from myself, all the way through up to the Secretary of State. So that that kind of goes without saying, and we've been very public about a lot of a lot of those engagements with the Palestinian American community, not only by myself, but also by the Secretary. You know, regarding the Visa Waiver Program, which is just a couple of things, right. So there's a conversation that's been ongoing. It's the summer of 2023. So I can say this conversation has been ongoing for about two years. When the Israeli Prime Minister summer of 2021, on his visit, raised it with the President, with President Biden, and there's been a regular consistent engagement with Israel, as it seeks to meet the requirements of the visa program. We're not there yet. And we're just not there yet. Right. So as we continue to work with Israel towards fulfilling the visa waiver requirements, we're in kind of regular partnership and engagement on that. One of those commitments requires extending reciprocal privileges to all US citizens nationals, including Palestinian Americans, Arab Americans to travel to Israel, and or to travel through Israel. And this includes Palestinian Americans on the population registry. And we've heard a wide range of views from folks in the American Jewish community as well as the Palestinian American community on on what that means and what that should mean. It shouldn't mean and, but as a general principle, right? We hold that every person who's a US citizen and holds a US passport, no matter where they were born, no matter their religion, their ethnicity, you know, would should be able to enter Israel and travel throughout Israel and travel through Israel for stays of, you know, 90 days for business or pleasure. And, and so that's what we're working towards, but we're really just not there yet. Right. So The conversation continues, but we're just not there.


Hadar Susskind  20:04

Thanks. So just a quick note for, you know, for folks who are with us today, if you haven't seen it, you know, APN joined with many of our colleagues in the rest of Israel network put out a statement saying that while we are fully in support of Israel joining the Visa Waiver Program, we think it should join the program, you know, when and only when it meets all of the requirements that there are 40 other nations in the program, you know, the requirements are not a negotiation, they're something that's been clearly laid out, and all the other countries are held to. And it's our view that once Israel demonstrates that it has already reached those requirements, not just committed to doing so then it should be considered for the program. And I would just say I agree with you, I don't believe they're there yet, although I hope that they get there. And I hope that they get there, certainly for Israel's purpose of being in the program, but primarily because I hope that we get to a point where they are not discriminating against Palestinian Americans, other Arab Americans against folks who are advocates for Palestinian rights, which we've also seen even Jewish Americans discriminated against, based on their political views on a much smaller scale than Palestinian and Arab Americans, of course. I am going to keep taking a couple of the questions we've got from from our audience here. So one that I think is going to skip from the very specific of the Visa Waiver Program to much bigger picture question. We've got the question and that says, Why can't the US recognize the state of Palestine with the need to negotiate its border, much like it has recognized the State of Israel without final defined borders 75 years ago? And wouldn't that be a step in walking the walk of supporting two states?


Special Representative Hady Amr  21:42

So that's a great question that I don't think I haven't answered for you on today. So I'll have to get back to you on that one. It's a fair question. But it's it's also just not where the President is, to be honest. And but it's a fair question. Yeah.


Hadar Susskind  22:09

You know, I didn't think you were going to a full on answer that one. But I figured it was a good question. So we should ask it. Another good question. That is much more detailed, as the question is whether the US government considers an American landing in the Tel Aviv airport to travel to Ramallah as entering or transitioning through Israel.


Special Representative Hady Amr  22:38

Yes. So if the question, so let me take a step back. So if Israel and the United States were to enter into a Visa Waiver Program agreement, the expectation would be that all Americans, right, and there's always exceptions, right? So the US denied entry to certain individuals, countries around the world. But as a matter of course, Americans, including Palestinian Americans, including Palestinian Americans in the Palestinian Population Registry, will be able to go to Israel for vacation, right, or work or whatever, for up to 90 days. And or go to Ramallah or Bethlehem, or Hebron, or Nablus, or Jenin, and visit family or friends or undertake their tourism there, or both, right. And so that's what entry into the Visa Waiver Program would mean, it would mean the ability of all Americans to undertake you know, that travel through the same program?


Hadar Susskind  23:54

So thank you for, you know, for expanding on that, but I think the short answer is the question is yes, landing in Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport to go to Ramallah or anywhere else if that's where you're landing, you are in Israel and and or transitioning through? Another interesting question that I think has come up. In Aqaba and Sharm Al-Sheikh recently, you know, at conferences, Israel committed itself again, to a settlement freeze. But what we've seen, of course, has not been a freeze, but an intensification of settlements, announcements of thousands and thousands of new units, actually, the highest number ever, over a six month period, announced already this year, legalization of the Wildcat settlements that are illegal even under Israeli laws, and of course, the violence and the incursion of settlers into Palestinian villages and areas. You know, does our government look at this as a collapse of this process? The fact that we've had a series of these meetings. We've gotten recent commitments. We're not talking about, you know, Israel reneging on a 2005 commitment and Homesh, we're talking about commitments from this year that have clearly been violated already.


Special Representative Hady Amr  25:14

Well, I don't want to fine tune, pick through those agreements, because there's different interpretations. But what I do want to say, I'd like to put some numbers on what you just articulated. Right? So in the first half of this year, there's been over 13,000 settlements advanced by our count, which is higher than any number in a full year in ages. Right. And, you know, versus you know, only 4000 last year. And 2200 in 2016. We've seen, you know, as you said, the outposts expanding, we've seen home demolitions at a far higher rate, over 900 last year, as compared to a long term average of 650. We've seen violence, perpetuated by settlers at a rate that is remarkably higher than we've seen in a long time. And so, you know, we've also seen just alarming numbers of conflict casualties. When I look at, I'm just looking down at the data here. You know, in the West Bank alone, there's been over 130 Palestinians killed. You know, it's a rate of about over 270 per year, which would make it the highest year since 2002. There's been 33 killed in Gaza. And there's also been 25 Israelis killed, which is also an extremely high rate. So instead of focusing in on what or wasn't said, in Aqaba or Sharm Al-Sheikh, I think we can, we should just focus in on how how heartbreakingly bad the situation is, and doing what we can to resolve it. And a lot of that work is taking place behind the scenes. And, and that's really what we're focused on. Right. So I really wouldn't, I wouldn't pick apart those agreements, I just focus on the work that we're trying to do to get the situation under better control.


Hadar Susskind  27:50

Thank you. I want to go back actually and clarify something I just got a note there the question about whether landing at the airport and going through Ramallah, I believe the intent on that is was trying to ask whether the US government would mean that you have transitioned through Israel? Or is visiting Ramallah considered being in Israel?


Special Representative Hady Amr  28:13

Ah, interesting question where our position on that is, you know, is clear the West Bank and Gaza is not part of Israel. Like that's not. That's nothing new, that hasn't changed. That was true, that's a long term policy in the United States going back decades.


Hadar Susskind  28:33

Yeah. Thank you. And thank you for that clarification, Sam, who asked that question. One of the other things that, you know, has, I'm sure been part and parcel and around your work. But where there's some news today is, of course, that the Abraham accords and the work around the Abraham Accords, what that means for Palestinians, Palestinian Israeli relationship, the US relationship, of course, today, it was announced that former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro has been appointed, will now be your colleague at the State Department, as Senior Advisor for regional integration is working on the Abraham accords. How are you trying to leverage this work, you know, the normalization between Israel and many of its Arab neighbors to advance the cause the Israeli Palestinian peace cause?


Special Representative Hady Amr  29:22

Thanks so much, and I'm so excited that Dan Shapiro is going to be joining me as I understand it will be starting, you know, we'll be right down the hall here. And we'll get to work together. Dan has been, you know, an important friend and partner to me in my work for well over a decade, and so I think he's gonna make a tremendous addition to the State Department. So, look, I mean, we've been clear that you While the President, the Secretary, strongly support the integration of the region, to become more peaceful, more secure, and more prosperous, for all the people in Middle East, including Israel, we've also been clear that the Abraham accords and normalization agreements are not a substitute for Israeli Palestinian peace, and that we believe that they provide avenues to advance a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and creating new opportunities to benefit the lives of the Palestinian people. So, you know, that's what we're working for, working towards. And, you know, there's been, you know, interest by the parties, in the Negev forum, to engage with the Palestinians. And so you know, as we as we work on that, and we, you know, and also work to improve the situation on the ground, we're constantly in touch with our partners in the region, whether that's Jordan or Egypt, or, you know, also whether that's countries like Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain, and so we are in regular touch with our partners, to look for ways to work together to improve the situation on the ground, whether that's in terms of economic projects, whether that's in terms of business investments, whether that's in terms of articulating and prioritizing principles of the need for improving the situation on the ground, and the final status agreement. So we're in regular partnership with our partners to work and push in that direction, I don't want to get into into the specifics. But just to say that, you know, we're in an extremely regular touch, you know, receive ambassadors for some of the key countries, you know, here in my office, we've had great conversations on how to improve the situation on the ground. You know, when in fact, again, the meetings that took the meeting that took place in Aqaba, in February of this year, you know, kind of grew out of the close partnership that we had with Jordan and Egypt in trying to grapple with the situation on the ground. So, you know, as you said, the question was, how are we leveraging the normalization agreements to advance the cause of peace? You know, we're doing that day in and day out in terms of building and strengthening our partnership with Morocco, with Bahrain, and, you know, and the UAE has to work in this direction. And let's not forget also, again, Jordan and Egypt, which were the first countries, first Arab countries really, that have been able to build and during a peace deals with Israel that, you know, that leverage those partnerships to to get the parties together. So I guess that's how I'd answer that question.


Hadar Susskind  33:13

Thank you. So I know you said you didn't want to get into the specifics. But I'm going to ask one specific you can punt it if you if you feel the need. There have been a lot of reports recently about, you know, efforts towards Saudi-Israeli normalization, whatever the right word is there, and reports, including that that has risen as a priority for the Biden administration as well, not only for the Israelis. You know, in those reports, there have been comments from the Saudis saying that the issue of the Palestinians and a Palestinian Israeli peace is essential for them, and that they're not going to move forward. You know, is that relationship, that triangle there something that your office has involved been involved in? Is there anything you can share around the Saudi Israeli particularly?


Special Representative Hady Amr  33:59

Yeah. So I'm just gonna, I'm just not so first of all, I'm not leading that effort. Just want to be clear. And that's also something that we're not going to going to really talk about, but let the Saudis speak for themselves, Israel. But, look, I think, you know, Saudi Arabia has been very clear, right, I don't have the quote in front of me, but you know, they clearly want to see progress on this file. And you know, I'm in regular touch with our ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Michael Ratney, who formerly served as the Chargé d'Affaires in Israel, and before that served as the Consul General in Jerusalem, a Palestinian facing capacity. So he's got a lot of experience there. But this is something that's really headed out of the White House.


Hadar Susskind  34:56

Thank you. I've got two questions for you that hopefully are It's easier to answer. So the first one is, you know, you mentioned UNRWA, and how much most of the US age aid goes through UNRWA. You know, there are reports out there right now that UNRWA is may cease to exist. And there are certainly folks in Congress on the Republican side who are working hard to try to make that happen, frankly, you know, if that is no longer, if at some point that is no longer a viable vehicle, how would your office then provide the aid that we do provide?


Special Representative Hady Amr  35:29

Yeah, I'm not going to engage in that hypothetical. I would just say that, you know, at the moment, right, we are. You know, I think we're one of if not the largest supporter of aid to the Palestinian people, through UNRWA, we intend to continue to provide robust assistance. You know, like many organizations out there, you know, created by the United Nations, you know, UNRWA faces, funding gaps, as it does every year. And we're hopeful that it'll pull through, but we're not, we're not considering any alternatives for that, and we don't foresee any sort of future in the immediate term, where UNRWA doesn't exist. We're just, we're just barreling ahead on that file, providing that assistance, you know, with conditions of accountability, transparency and efficiency requirements and commitments from the organization. But we're, we're continuing on providing that assistance. And I just, I'm not going to engage on that hypothetical, because I just don't, I don't see it in the immediate term.


Hadar Susskind  36:52

I'm glad to hear it. Speaking of things we may or may not see in the immediate term, you know, there's been discussion and one of our participants asked us around the question of whether the Biden administration intends to reopen an office of Palestinian representation here in Washington, anything you can share with us on that front?


Special Representative Hady Amr  37:12

Yeah. So just trying to think how to answer that. First of all, I guess I can just say it's a complicated issue. I don't anticipate any developments in the immediate term. And probably best, I just left it there. I think that's it's also a great question for the Palestinian leadership that you should ask them, as well, but it's a great question. US law is currently such that it kind of makes that a very complicated decision for the Palestinians themselves. And so, you know, I just don't anticipate... it's a complicated issue. And I'll just leave it at that. 


Hadar Susskind  38:00

Well, speaking of complicated issues, you know, last year, two years ago now, I forget the exact timing. As you well know, there were several Palestinian civil society organizations in the West Bank, that the previous Israeli government outlawed and declared, as you know, supporters of terror, we know that the Biden administration has asked for clarifications has been in touch with the Israeli government. Can you tell us any? Or any developments on that? Or what kind of what kind of answers you've gotten back from the Israeli government on that?


Special Representative Hady Amr  38:33

Right, so I can't get into I really, absolutely can't get into any of those conversations, which are highly classified, but just to reiterate the facts. So first and foremost, United States doesn't and really hasn't funded any of those groups that that, you know, Israel has made the case against, and we made no change in our posture regarding those NGOs. We've also made clear the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority that independent civil society organizations in the West Bank in Israel must be able to continue their important work. And we've received assurances from from both, both have stated that they understand our position. And also, just again, want to clarify for everyone, that the PFLP the United States government has long since designated that the PFLP is a foreign terrorist organization for over 25 years, and it remains designated as that that way today.


Hadar Susskind  39:47

Thank you. So I gotta just to wrap it up. I think there's, you know, there has been no change in US policy on that. And I know I know your time is getting short, but I want to sneak in another question or two. Speaking of things that may or may not have been a change in us, Paul. We'll see, depending who you ask, this week, we saw news of the administration saying that it wouldn't, was not following I don't want to say reversing because I guess someone said they weren't reversing, but not following the Trump policy of allowing us taxpayer funding to go, particularly to Ariel university or, but really specifically, but to anything over the green line. In this case, it was particularly around science research. Again, this is a long list on the long list of frankly, terrible Trump actions and policies that we've been hoping to see the Biden administration reversed. So we were very happy with this announcement today. Can you tell us anything you want to add on that? And be you know, there are other things on that list, like going back to the previous American policy of, you know, the labeling of settlement goods as made in the occupied territories as opposed to Israel? Are there any other things on that list that we might be seeing coming down the pike?


Special Representative Hady Amr  40:55

I have nothing to announce at this time on anything that may or may not be coming down the pike. But yeah, look on settlements. Sorry, on the guidance that we provided, we're essentially reverting to US policy that existed from the early 1970s, up until up through to and through most of 2020. And so essentially, what we did, right, is we, you know, these were agreements that were signed between the United States and Israel in the 70s, they were kind of redone in 2020. But we just reverted the guidance to that, that we would, you know, we were going to align our funding with the long standing geographic limitations that previously existed. I don't want to I can't get ahead of anything that may or may not happen in the near future.


Hadar Susskind  41:56

I'll just say again, you know, we were very thankful to see that action this week. I think it speaks directly to what you answered clearly and unequivocally earlier, the question about Ramallah being not Israel, right, you know, the occupied territories are not Israel and US policy in law, largely does, and certainly should reflect that. So we're happy to see that. Listen, I know your time is tight. I want to thank you for being with us. I want to thank everyone for being with us. And if you have any closing thoughts you want to share with us before we run?


Special Representative Hady Amr  42:25

No, I just want to thank you all for the opportunity to speak with you. You know, we consider you all friends. And, and really glad to have this opportunity to engage and  be held to account. It's an important part of our democracy. And, and I'm just really, really just honored to be able to participate in it. So thank you so much.


Hadar Susskind  42:51

Well, thank you again, for being with us. And much more importantly, thank you for all of the work that you're doing and this honestly, incredibly difficult task that you have taken. So thank you, Hady. Thank you to everyone for joining us, and we'll see you all another time. Goodbye.


Special Representative Hady Amr  43:06

Thank you. Bye bye.