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December 20, 2022

Holiday Message from Chief of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs


December 20, 2022 


Holiday Message from Chief of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs

Chief Noll:  Good evening esteemed guests and welcome!  Thank you for joining the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs this evening for our Holiday Party to celebrate this festive season and the U.S. – Palestinian relationship.


This is a season for reflection and enjoying valuable time spent with family and friends.  That’s why we are happy to welcome you to this building, as the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, to celebrate the strong and continuously growing relationship between the United States and the Palestinian people.


This building we are standing in has historical significance.  As many of you know, this is the residence of the former Consul General in Jerusalem.  In 1912, the United States government leased this villa, one of the first built outside the walls of the Old City and relocated the headquarters of our Consulate and the Consul General’s residence here.  This year, 2022, marks 110 years of this building operating as a space for the United States to engage with and reach the Palestinian people.  We are so happy to host this holiday reception here this year to mark this special anniversary.


While we continue to work towards re-opening the Consulate General, we are proud to independently engage with the Palestinian people as the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs from this building here in Jerusalem – a symbol of our historic and enduring relationship with Palestinians.


The U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs promotes our overarching strategic objective of achieving a just and lasting two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on our belief that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, and enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity.


As the Secretary of State mentioned in Washington, D.C. this month, “Jerusalem is central to the national visions of both Palestinians and Israelis and must be a city for all of its people.”


As such, we are happy to have you here in Jerusalem with us this evening to celebrate the achievements and progress that have been made this year and reaffirm our hopes and goals to facilitate an environment for sustained peace, prosperity, and democracy for the Palestinian people and an even stronger U.S. – Palestinian relationship, despite the challenges we still face.


And if you’ll allow me, I’d like to quote the Secretary for a moment, because


“I know that many people are disillusioned.  Many people are frustrated.  We’ve been trying to get to a two-state solution for decades, and yet it seems that we’ve only gotten further away from that goal.  But we cannot afford to give up hope.  We cannot succumb to cynicism.  We cannot give in to apathy.  It’s precisely when times are difficult – when peace seems even further from reach – that we’ve simply got to work harder, that we must continue to pursue whatever openings we can to show that progress is still possible.”


While there is still much work to be done, we have seen the U.S. – Palestinian relationship greatly strengthen in this last year.  Since President Biden took office last year, the U.S. has provided nearly $1 billion in assistance for Palestinians, focusing on the issues that have the greatest impact on their daily lives: food, economic development, vaccines, water and sanitation, and support to strengthen Palestinian security.


Last month, the U.S. government appointed its first representative to the Palestinian people and PA leadership, Mr. Hady Amr, as the U.S. Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs (SRPA).  As Hady mentioned when he was appointed, he is honored to take on the role which is ‘unprecedented and elevates the Palestinian issues and our engagement on it.’ And we look forward to welcoming him here in the near future.


Our U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs staff in the political, economic, public diplomacy and newly established INL sections have worked hard this year to increase engagement and outreach to Palestinian interlocutors and partners.  Both the economic and public diplomacy section held important dialogues and programming this year such as the U.S.-Palestinian Economic Dialogue and the first U.S. Sports and Arts envoys’ visits to the Palestinian Territories in over six years.


We’ve engaged with Palestinian political leadership and civil society in a much more expansive manner this year, facilitating exchange and growth between Americans and Palestinians in every sector.  And we are excited to continue strengthening relations next year and working towards our common goals.


Once again, I am honored by your presence here this evening and grateful to celebrate and spend time with you this festive season.  I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all!