While Israelis commend Biden’s visit, some Palestinians protest his absence.


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Palestinians protested on Friday over President Biden during his meetings with Palestinian health workers and officials, amid widespread frustration with U.S. support for Israel and the Biden administration’s policies toward Palestinians.

One protest took place in East Jerusalem. Mr. Biden visited a hospital, which his administration wants to help with new American funding. On Friday, a second protest will be held in Bethlehem (West Bank city), where Mr. Biden will meet Mahmoud Abubas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Other protests were held in Gaza, West Bank and elsewhere on Thursday.

The Biden administration announced new funding of $100 million to several Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem. This was subject to congressional approval. $201 million was also promised to the United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees. It stated that Israel had also agreed to provide 4G phone reception for Palestinian-run West Bank areas.

Officials from the Palestinian Authority praised the funding as it allowed for the revival of hospitals. These were, however, fragmentary gestures for Palestinian protesters that did not advance the possibility of a Palestinian state.

“They left everything else,” said Suhaib Zahda, a political activist in Nablus, West Bank, “to ask for 4G?”

Palestinians have long questioned Washington’s ability to neutrally mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, citing strong American support for Israel at the United Nations and the size of U.S. financial and military support to Israel, which has cumulatively received more American aid than any other country since World War II.

Some Palestinians Initial sight Mr. Biden’s presidency as a welcome relief from the Trump administration. Many now view the Biden administration’s failure to reverse many Trump-era policies as a disappointment.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden restated his support for Palestinian statehood, calling for a “lasting negotiated peace between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people,” and underscoring his backing for a two-state solution to the conflict. His administration also claims that it has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to Palestinian institutions, which was cut under President Trump.

However, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians and the Palestinian mission in Washington were both closed under President Trump. It has also not formally rescinded the Trump administration’s legitimization of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal by most of the world.

Mr. Zahda, the political activist from Nablus, said Mr. Biden’s visit to Bethlehem was a largely empty gesture. “Palestinians consider the U.S. as a partner in the occupation, whether by funding it or by supporting Israel politically,” said Mr. Zahda, 39.

Palestinians’ criticism of the Biden administration Recently, it grewShireen Abu Ashleh, a Palestinian American journalist was killed in May in West Bank. The United States government investigated and found that Ms. Abu Akleh had been murdered. Most likely, he was killed by Israeli fire., but that it was “the result of tragic circumstances” rather than a deliberate act. Washington did not press Israel to launch a criminal investigation into any Israeli soldier, according to the State Department.

Although the State Department stated that it was not trying favor Israel, it still angered Palestinians, who felt that Washington was shielding Israel.

Diala Ayesh, a Palestinian attorney and protest organizer in Ramallah said that many young Palestinians don’t have hope in any U.S. Administration.

“We’re obviously not demanding or expecting anything from him,” Ms. Ayesh, 26, said of Mr. Biden. “We had hoped that Abbas would reject the meeting all together and save us and himself the humiliation.” 

International news footage could also show another form of protest.

As his convoy drives through the West Bank on Friday, the president will pass near large banners that read: “Mr. President, this is apartheid.”

This term refers to South Africa’s racist legal system from the early 1990s. an explosive charge in the debate around Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. A few international and Israeli watchdogs are accusing Israel of practicing apartheid. These accusations echo claims that Palestinians have made about Israel since at least 1960s. The Israeli government rejects this accusation as baseless.

The billboards were put up on Wednesday by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem — which began to apply the term to Israeli policies last year — in several locations around Ramallah and Bethlehem.


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