Palestinian pessimism over Biden’s visit 

US President Joe Biden (Yuichi Yamazaki - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 6, 2022

A Palestinian official warned on Tuesday of the repercussions of the failure of US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the region to launch a political horizon for a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and Israel.

“If President Biden’s visit fails to launch a political horizon, we will all go to an absolutely uncomfortable position,” the Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Hussein al-Sheikh, told reporters in Ramallah. Warning of the dangers of the Palestinians “losing hope” due to the “unbearable ongoing and escalating Israeli abuse, killings, settlements and armed incursions,” he called upon the international community to assume its responsibilities. “We hope that the outcomes of the visit will be positive, give us hope and enable us to go to a more advanced and positive stage.”

Al-Sheikh stressed the need for Biden’s visit to force Israel to abide by international legitimacy. He laid emphasis on the two-state solution, the need to stop settlements and the need to end the displacement of the Palestinian population.

The official referred to the decisions taken by the Palestinian Authority leadership to redefine the relationship with Israel, including the possibility of withdrawing its recognition and halting security coordination. “There is a set of measures approved by the Palestinian leadership, which were postponed at the request of brothers, friends and the US administration until after Biden’s visit, and I hope that we will not have to resort to this situation; we have no desire to do so.”

While the Palestinians hope that there will be a serious breakthrough, he added, if the visit comes out with no progress made, the Palestinian leadership “has no other option.” However, observers point out that the PA makes threats such as the end of security cooperation with the occupation state on a frequent basis, but never carries them through.

With regard to America’s financial support for the PA, Al-Sheikh stated that it has been suspended for years. He expressed his hope that Biden’s visit will be “a starting point in this matter and that things will return to their normal course.”

Biden is scheduled to start his first trip to the Middle East by visiting Israel on 13 July before meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. He will then travel to Riyadh, where he is expected to meet the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.