President Jo Biden was greeted with splendor when he met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinians rolled out the red carpet in Bethlehem – literally – when Biden and Abbas watched the troops and national anthems were played outside the Palestinian Muqataa Presidential Compound.
Biden shook hands with the 86-year-old Abbas, who is head of the Palestinian Authority, which manages parts of the occupied West Bank and cooperates with Israel on security.
They then held a private meeting.
In the room where the leaders would give closing remarks, an empty chair stood in front of the stage with a photo of the murdered Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on it.
Akleh wore a bulletproof vest to the image, and the words “The Voice of Palestine” were written in Arabic on the photo.
At a former hospital stop and along the highway, “Justice for Shireen” was also demanded, after Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead and killed in May while carrying out a robbery by the Israel Defense Forces.
Several Palestinian journalists covering Biden wore T-shirts with Akleh’s face on them.
Biden is not expected to meet the journalist’s family members on his four-day trip to the Middle East.
President Joe Biden (left) stands next to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (center) during a welcoming ceremony Friday at the Palestinian Muqataa Presidential Compound in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
President Joe Biden (center), with his trademark aviators, attends an arrival ceremony Friday in Bethlehem for the Palestinian Muqataa Presidential Compound for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
President Joe Biden was greeted with great splendor for his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He participated in a troop presentation and a ceremony in which folk songs were played
Palestinian President Joe Biden (left) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) during a visit to the West Bank on Friday
A reporter wears a shirt seeking justice for murdered Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at President Joe Biden’s stop at Augusta Victoria Hospital Friday morning in East Jerusalem
Biden’s first stop of the day was a visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital in the East Jerusalem announce that he will ask Congress to fund $ 100 million for health care services for the hospital network, which serves the Palestinian population.
“Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measure of freedom, security, prosperity and dignity and access to health care, if you need it, is essential to living a life of dignity for all of us,” the president said in brief remarks.
Biden followed in the footsteps of his wife, First Lady Jill Bidenwho had visited the hospital twice before.
His visit, according to the CEO of the hospital and Secretary-General of the Hospital of East Jerusalem, Dr. Fadi Atrash, ‘brings hope to thousands of Palestinians.’
“We Palestinians are the same as Americans,” Atrash said. ‘We have our own dream that we want to realize. And for that, we need hope, justice, freedom and support from friends like you in America and around the world. ‘
“We are very, very happy to have you and you are most welcome, Mr. President,” Atrash added.
President Joe Biden visited the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem on Friday morning and announced that he would ask Congress to fund $ 100 million for health care services for the hospital network, which serves the Palestinian population.
President Joe Biden leaves the stage on Friday following the announcement of a $ 100 million commitment for hospitals in East Jerusalem that serve the Palestinian people
When Biden took the stage, he spoke of being Irish-American, comparing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the relationship of Irish Catholics with Great Britain.
He then asked, ‘Are there nurses in the room?’
‘Because if not, I’m going home,’ said the president laughing. “If there are angels in heaven – no, no, no I mean this sincerely from my heart.”
“My wife and daughter were killed and my boys were stuck in a car for hours when a tractor-trailer hit them – the doctor saved their lives, but the nurses made them want to live,” Biden said.
The president spoke about his own health challenges, dual aneurysms with an embolus on them.
“I was joking, the reason they came in twice to take my head off is that they couldn’t find a brain the first time,” Biden said.
In a more serious tone, he added: ‘I do not think your nurses are valued nearly enough.’
He reminded himself that he was in the intensive care unit – and said he had never made these remarks public before.
“And you look at the monitors and you know that if the line goes flat, you’re dead,” the president said. ‘But you just get tired, even if you’re not in pain, you just want to stop.’
‘And the nurses at Walter Reed Hospital. Would come up, and they would rub my face, they whispered in my ear. They would come close and tell me, it’s going well. They made a difference in my life, ‘he said.
He then went to his late son Beau Biden, who died of Glioblastom in 2015, which the president said he believed was a product of his son’s service in Iraq because the Delaware Attorney General slept close to burning wells.
“He should be the man who talks to you as president, not me,” Biden said.
The president then returned to the business – announcing the $ 100 million commitment to the Palestinian health system.
“Working together, it is my prayer that the United States will both relieve the hospital’s debt burden, and support targeted infrastructure updates and major patient care reforms, to ensure long-term financial stability,” he said.
‘We also welcome the $ 25 million contribution from the UAE. And I urge other peoples in the region and around the world to step up as well with their own contributions to support the vital work that is being done here, ‘the president added.
He said the United States will continue to work with the Palestinian leadership, with the Government of Israel and with all our international partners to ensure that the hospital network of East Jerusalem remains sustainable, accessible and capable of providing high-quality care. deliver the Palestinian people deserve. ‘
Biden will also offer Palestinians a promise from Israel to modernize wireless access.
But that will be all he has to offer.
Biden supports a two-state solution, but there is no clear path to an independent Palestinian state.
‘There are practical realities on the ground that we are very much counting on, so we have not come up with a top-down plan, but we have always said that when the parties are ready to talk, and we think they should, we will be there, right next to them, ‘said a senior administration official.
The Palestinians want an independent state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – territories that Israel occupied during the 1967 Mideast War.
The international community supports the idea as well, but it seems to be a distant goal amid hardened attitudes on both sides.
Yair Lapid, the incumbent prime minister, supports two states, but he has no mandate to hold peace talks.
And the November 1 election could bring a right-wing government to power that opposes Palestinian state formation.
The president will concentrate his last day in Israel on the West Bank, after the Palestinians have barely been mentioned in the past two days.
Biden’s focus was on the longtime ally Israel of the US and he praised the country several times during his time on the ground.
Israeli officials have objected to none of their officials having Biden at the hospital stop, what they see happening on their territory.
But a senior administration official called it a “private visit” and pointed out that Jill Biden visited the same hospital when she was second lady, claiming that the Bidens had long ties with it.
After the hospital stop, Biden will visit Abbas in Bethlehem and then see the Church of the Nativity.
He then goes to Saudi Arabia.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas rolls out red carpet for Biden in Bethlehem
Source link Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas rolls out red carpet for Biden in Bethlehem