U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr arrived in Israel on Friday as part of efforts by the Biden administration to de-escalate the conflict in the region.
The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which tweeted a photo of Amr arriving, said the envoy aims to “reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm, recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity.”
Amr was dispatched by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Amr, who served as U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations from 2014 to 2017 during the Obama administration, has been accused of working with anti-Israel groups in the past. Earlier this year, he led the first contacts between the Biden administration and the Palestinian Authority, and also played a role in helping the administration restore funding to the Palestinians.
Amr was born in Lebanon but grew up in Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, Amr has repeatedly advocated for dialogue and relations with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, both designated as terrorist organizations by the US State Department. These efforts may be due to his close ties with Hamas’ sponsor-state Qatar while acting as the founder and director of the Qatar-funded Brookings Doha Center.
In an article published in 2002, Amr responded to the targeted assassination of Sheikh Salah Shahada, the head of Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who was killed in an IDF airstrike, or what he called “the occupation.” While claiming that he “strongly condemned those who kill Israeli civilians in Israel”, Amr made an explicit call for Israeli Arabs to commit terrorism. Amr warned that “I have news for Sharon, and I have news for every Israeli: a very large proportion of the more than 150 million children and youth in the Arab World now have televisions, and they will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children. And there will be thousands who will seek to avenge these brutal murders of innocents…”
The article concluded with a call to end all US aid to Israel.
In another article published the same year, Amr accused “the occupation” (i.e. Israel) of ethnic-cleansing. He also used the anti-Semitic trope, warning that pro-“Palestinian” political campaigns are ineffective due to “[then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon’s supporters” controlling US politicians.
Also on Friday, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas called on the United States to intervene to stop the escalation in the Gaza Strip, and of late, the West Bank as well.
“The president calls on the U.S. administration to immediately and swiftly intervene to stop this Israeli aggression so that things will not get out of control,” Abbas’s office said in a statement.
Palestinian rioters clashed with Israeli soldiers across Judea and Samaria on Friday with at least nine Palestinians killed and hundreds more wounded. The rioters were throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and launching fireworks at troops.