Palestinians to protest Biden visit amid unfulfilled promises

The planned protest in Ramallah’s Al-Manara Square will decry the “rejection of Biden’s humiliating policies towards the Palestinian issue."

 US President Joe Biden speaks after signing an executive order to help safeguard women's access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion, at the White House in Washington, US, July 8, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)
US President Joe Biden speaks after signing an executive order to help safeguard women's access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion, at the White House in Washington, US, July 8, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

Palestinian activists have called for holding a protest in Ramallah on Thursday against US President Joe Biden’s visit to the West Bank and meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The protest, scheduled for 6 p.m. in Ramallah’s Al Manara Square, will be held to express “rejection of Biden’s humiliating policies toward the Palestinian issue” and Washington’s “blatant bias” in favor of Israel.

A poster published by a number of Palestinian activists on social-media platforms denounced the US as the “head of the snake” and said, “America does not liberate people but only enslaves them.”

The Palestinian leadership was not pinning high hopes on the Biden visit to the region, a Palestinian official in Ramallah said Monday, adding that it was mainly aimed at establishing a new alliance to confront Iran.

The Palestinian leadership has not received any assurances that the Biden administration would fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, the official told The Jerusalem Post.

Then US Vice-President Joe Biden meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 9, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/DEBBIE HILL/POOL)Then US Vice-President Joe Biden meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 9, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/DEBBIE HILL/POOL)

“The Palestinian issue is not at the top of Biden’s agenda,” the official said. “Ignoring the Palestinian issue will only increase tensions and undermine security and stability in the region.”

The official repeated the Palestinian demand to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which had previously served as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians, and to remove the PLO from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

He also called on the Biden administration to reiterate its commitment to the two-state solution and work toward reviving the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Biden does not put enough pressure on Israel

According to the official, Abbas will ask Biden during their meeting to exert pressure on Israel “to halt all unilateral measures, including settlement construction.”

Another official said Abbas would make it clear during his meeting with Biden that the Palestinian leadership will have no choice but to implement decisions by the PLO and Fatah institutions to halt security coordination and cancel all signed agreements with Israel in the absence of a “political horizon.”

“We are fed up with empty promises,” the official told the Post. “If the Americans continue to ignore our demands, the situation will further deteriorate. We want the Palestinian cause to return to the center of the world’s attention.”

On the eve of Biden’s visit, the Palestinian Prisoners Club called on the Palestinian leadership to raise the issue of security prisoners held in Israeli prisons during the talks with the Americans.

The nongovernmental group, which assists and supports Palestinian security prisoners, said the case of the inmates was “a national, political and humanitarian issue.”

The Palestinian leadership should specifically raise the issue of the prisoners incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the group said. These prisoners were supposed to be released in accordance with an agreement reached in 2014 under the auspices of the US, it said.

At that time, Israel committed to releasing 104 long-serving prisoners as part of the renewed peace talks with the Palestinians. However, the Israeli government later canceled plans to release a fourth batch of prisoners after the PA submitted official requests to join 15 United Nations conventions and treaties.

In addition, the group urged the Palestinian leadership to demand the release of ex-prisoners who were rearrested by the IDF after being freed in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian news media responses

“The Palestinian issue does not actually appear on the American agenda in Biden’s upcoming visit,” Palestinian academic Sania Husseini wrote in the PA’s official newspaper Al-Ayyam. “The Biden administration has not retracted any of Trump’s controversial policies against the Palestinians. It adheres to formal initiatives that do not carry any political substance and is content with some economic initiatives. Palestinian public opinion believes, according to recent opinion polls, that the US is the second threat to the Palestinian cause after Israel.”

The Palestinian leadership was still talking about the need for the US administration to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds said in an editorial.

“The Palestinians expect the Biden administration to reaffirm its commitment to the two-state solution and that it will work to achieve this by resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” it said. “But the two-state solution has become impossible in light of what the Israeli occupation is doing on the ground. Therefore, the Palestinians, instead of continuing to ask and beg the Americans to implement their promises, should search for other ways and means to compel the occupation and the US to reconsider their policy.”