Days of Palestine

Biden’s visit confirms the marginalization of Palestinian rights

US President Joe Biden addresses his hosts upon his arrival in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, on July 13, 2022. - Biden started today his first tour of the Middle East since entering the White House last year [Mandel Ngen/AFP]

An opinion piece by Ahmed Abu Artema

US President, Joe Biden arrived in the occupied Palestine on his first visit since his inauguration. During this visit, he signed with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid a joint statement called the “Jerusalem Declaration” confirming Washington’s commitment to supporting the security of the occupying country and not allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

The most important goal of Biden’s visit was expressed upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport by declaring the United States’ commitment to strengthening Israel’s security, and saying that it would work to strengthen the Iron Dome system, as well as push forward toward achieving Israel’s integration in the region.

The purpose of Biden’s visit is also clear from the article he published in the Washington Post a few days prior to his visit, entitled “The reason for my visit to Saudi Arabia.”

He described Saudi Arabia as a strategic partner for his country for 80 years and stressed that his goal from the beginning was to enhance relations with it, not sever them, noting that he would be the first US president to travel from Israel to Jeddah.

It is remarkable that the Washington Post was chosen for the op-ed to be published in, notably the newspaper in which the late Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi was writing for, and the newspaper that strongly adopted the Khashoggi case.      

Biden wanted to anticipate criticism that might be directed against him for visiting the country whose crown prince was implicated in the Khashoggi assassination by publishing from the same platform and emphasizing that he is redirecting relations with it, not severing it.

 A strategic move on Biden’s part to dodge any critics by posting from the same platform that vouched for a crusade against the Sudi government for killing the Sudi-American activist in broad daylight.

It is clear from Biden’s statements and visit’s agenda, along with the title of his article in the Washington Post that his visit is far from prioritizing the Palestinian cause.

The addition of the Palestinian cause in Biden’s agenda was nothing more than a mere afterthought. This is confirmed by the president’s choice of  Bethlehem, not Ramallah, for a short meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in order to distance any political interpretation of that meeting, as Bethlehem is widely known to be a holy city for Christians and a common tourist destination, which weakens the political interpretation of his meeting with Abbas.

The political marginalization of the rights of Palestinians is confirmed by the recent actions of injustice Israel practiced and declared before and during Biden’s visit only to offer some trivial enhancements of Palestinian living conditions, and Israel’s flexy conditional announcement that it might open Ramon Airport for flights to  Palestinian residents in exchange of ‘political calm’.

Biden’s visit aims to emphasize security and military cooperation with Israel, to promote normalization relations with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and coordinate sanctions against Iran. At the same time, this visit reinforces the marginalization of Palestinian rights by its frivolous stances and promises in relation to the Palestinian cause.

Biden’s statement reaffirms his country’s commitment to the two-state solution has no concrete value. It is an empty statement that aims to do nothing but mask the void of the deeply rooted lack of interest in the Palestinian cause. This comes as no surprise thought for the actual course of US policies in general and this visit, in particular, confirms the previously established fact that the US administration is not interested in putting any political efforts into the Palestinian cause.

This is the consistent position for Israeli for more than twenty years, which consists of stopping the political process with the Palestinians and taking unilateral steps such as annexing the West Bank and Judaizing Jerusalem and was satisfied with only offering some living facilities for the Palestinians.

What Biden’s visit confirms is the victory of the Israeli occupation position and that the US administration adopted the same position and did not It considers the Palestinian issue a priority in its dealings with the Middle East region.

The Palestinians are facing difficult challenges due to the alliance between the Arab regimes and the Israeli occupying power, and because of the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and its inability to raise its voice and engage in any real confrontation process, even in the legal and diplomatic fields, against Israel. 

What can restore the interest in the Palestinian issue by cultivating a new spirit in the Palestinian people for them to be able to impose pressure on the Israeli occupation and remind them that Palestinians exist and are deeply rooted in their land who are willing to struggle in order to get their national rights and that continuing to ignore these people will not cancel their existence or their insistence on usurping their freedom and sovereignty.

Ahmed Abu Artema is a Palestinian journalist, writer, and activities in Act for Palestine association