newsU.S.-Israel Relations

American diplomat meets PA governor who calls US ‘puppet’ of ‘Jewish lobby’

Khaled Doudin in Hebron has accused Israel of initiating the current war with Hamas and expressed “respect” for terrorists incarcerated in Israel.

George Noll, the head of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem, meets the Palestinian Authority governor of Hebron, Khaled Doudin, in the Judea city, May 29, 2024. Credit: U.S. Department of State.
George Noll, the head of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem, meets the Palestinian Authority governor of Hebron, Khaled Doudin, in the Judea city, May 29, 2024. Credit: U.S. Department of State.

George Noll, the head of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem, last week sat down with a Palestinian Authority official in Hebron who has promoted antisemitic tropes about Jewish control of U.S. foreign policy, JNS has found.

USOPA, whose offices are located at the U.S. embassy to Israel but which is a separate institution, said on Monday that Noll was “pleased” to meet P.A. governor of Hebron Khaled Doudin on May 29.

The tête-à-tête in Judea, which was also attended by “other Hebron and Dura representatives,” focused on “challenges Hebronites are facing, including increased movement restrictions and extremist settler attacks over the past eight months,” the office tweeted.

The meeting marked Noll’s first visit to Arab Hebron since Doudin was appointed some three months ago as part of P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s promise to Washington to enact administrative reforms.

However, a glance at some of Doudin’s recent remarks on the war between Israel and Hamas suggests that antisemitism and the glorification of terror are still rampant among Ramallah’s officials.

Only four days before meeting Noll, Doudin told Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm that he believes the Biden administration will never withdraw its support for the Jewish state because “any American president relies on the Jewish-Zionist lobby and is a puppet of Israeli politics.”

Doudin said he could not support Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people, primarily Jewish civilians, because the “resistance operation” resulted in the deaths of “tens of thousands of martyrs” in Gaza.

“The Israeli occupation government took what happened in the ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ operation [Hamas’s name for the massacre] as justification for the annihilation of the people of the Gaza Strip and the settling of scores by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” said the governor.

“The one who initiated the killing is the occupation,” he charged, adding that Hamas’s murder spree should be viewed against the background of Jerusalem’s 20-year “siege” of the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Meanwhile, in an April 17 speech marking “Palestinian Prisoners Day” in Hebron, Doudin extended his “greetings and respect” to terrorists incarcerated in Israel, denouncing what he described as the “abuse, assault and medical neglect” of captured Oct. 7 terrorists.

According to the local Sada News outlet, diplomats from Jordan, Egypt and France attended the May 29 meeting in Hebron alongside Noll.

The site reported that Noll and French Consul-General in Jerusalem Nicolas Kassianides stressed to Doudin that Washington and Paris had already imposed sanctions on Israelis in Judea and Samaria and that their visit was aimed at “closely examining the conditions in Hebron.”

The group reportedly joined a tour with the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, which the NGO Monitor watchdog group has accused of antisemitism and which has alleged links to U.S.-designated terror groups.

Notably, Sada News said the diplomats met with former P.A. Hebron governor Jibreen al-Bakri, who was fired by Abbas in August 2023 but apparently continues to conduct official business on behalf of the city.

A longtime prominent member of Abbas’s ruling Fatah Party, al-Bakri has been accused by Palestinians of involvement in the murder of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat in P.A. custody three years ago.

The photo from the May 29 visit posted to X by Noll’s office shows al-Bakri posing with the U.S. diplomat alongside the current governor.

Asked to respond to Doudin’s remarks, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told JNS on Thursday that the Biden administration “rejects the use of antisemitic tropes just as it rejects any hate speech.”

“As we have said repeatedly, the administration continues to work tirelessly to secure a ceasefire and release of hostages, to ensure Palestinians in Gaza are protected and have their humanitarian needs met, and to identify a vision for the post-conflict period where Palestinians and Israelis can live with equal security, prosperity and freedom,” the spokesperson added.

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