US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last month that he’ll be designating two Israeli groups as foreign terrorist organizations, according to a Channel 14 News report on Sunday based on Palestinian sources.
The two organizations are the anti-assimilation organization Lehava led by Bentzi Gopstein and La Familia, a group of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer group who are known for their violent acts and racism.
Blinken also told Abbas that the Israeli government is also working to declare the two organizations as terrorist entities. Defense Minister Benny Gantz has spoken about making efforts to outlaw both organizations, especially Lehava.
The sources also reported that during Abbas’s meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf two weeks ago, Abbas expressed fury over the US’ intention to exclude the Kach organization from the list of terror organizations while refusing to remove the PLO from the list of terror organizations.
Leaf’s meeting with Abbas must have been a particularly unpleasant one as Abbas also expressed his fury over “unilateral and provocative steps” by Israel, including the “flag march” and the “violation of the Al-Aqsa mosque.” Additionally, Abbas slammed the Biden administration for failing to advance “peace talks” and fulfill its promises of reopening the PA consulate and the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington.
Abbas then threatened to retaliate against Israel by halting security cooperation or even halting the PA’s recognition of Israel.
It was after that meeting that the US asked Israel to halt any actions that could lead to tensions with the Palestinian Authority ahead of President Biden’s visit next month.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)