US Asks Israel to Dial Back Oppression of Palestinians – But Just During Biden’s Visit

One critic wryly observed that Israel "can resume killing, dispossessing, and persecuting" Palestinians "without restrictions once Biden leaves."

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The United States is asking Israel to refrain from certain violations of international law in Palestine during President Joe Biden’s visit to the apartheid state next month, according to a report published Wednesday.

Axios reports U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Barbara Leaf has asked the Israeli government to stop evicting Palestinians and demolishing their homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – actions condemned as ethnic cleansing by human rights advocates.

Leaf also asked Israel to not make any decisions on building or expanding its exclusively Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, and to reduce military operations in the West Bank, until after Biden’s visit. Like the occupation, settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a form of apartheid, according to United Nations officials and human rights groups.

“The US wants the visit to take place in a good atmosphere different than the one now,” said Hussein al-Sheikh, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the official in charge of contact with the Biden administration. “If the Israelis don’t stop their unilateral action the situation deteriorates and becomes much worse.”

Officials In Israel confirmed Leaf’s request. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata reportedly said they will try their best, while warning that domestic political considerations and military necessities will complicate their efforts.

“The Biden administration doesn’t want us to create any crisis in the West Bank,” one Israeli official told Axios‘ Barak Ravid. “They want quiet and calm.”

In addition to Israel, Biden will visit the West Bank and Saudi Arabia on his July 13-16 trip.

Leaf’s ask comes just over a month after Israel’s highest court upheld orders for the destruction of eight Palestinian hamlets in the West Bank and Israeli authorities announced the advancement of nearly 4,000 new exclusively Jewish homes in 20 settlements.

The US request also follows the killing of two Palestinian-Americans by Israeli forces: Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering a military raid on the Jenin refugee camp last month, while 78-year-old Omar Assad died after being brutally detained during a vehicle check in Jiljilya in January.

During a March 2010 visit by then-Vice President Biden, Israel announced 1,600 new Jewish-only homes in East Jerusalem, a move Biden condemned as “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now.”

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

6 thoughts on “US Asks Israel to Dial Back Oppression of Palestinians – But Just During Biden’s Visit”

  1. Biden is asking Bennett to dial back oppression of Palestinians for his visit. That doesn’t solve anything. Israel will go back to more of the same after the visit. If Israel can get away with demolishing Palestinians’ homes, committing ethnic cleansing against them, using water from their homes to irrigate their farms , killing Palestinians including children and killing foreigners in their country including Americans, it can get away with killing journalists including ones with American Citizenship.
    The US always excuses what Israel does even if it disapproves of it.

  2. Don’t be naive, ISRAHELL will never stop murdering Palestinian Children and will continue to be the Middle East most active Terrorist State !!

  3. Joe could hear the laughter in the next room. A photo-op by Joe that is a nothing burger for the Palestinians. The truth is 99.9% of Americans could give a sh*t about the plight of the Palestinians.

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