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Biden is putting his personal interests ahead of human rights

June 6, 2022 at 7:01 pm

US President Joe Biden on May 23, 2022 [David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency]

A number of officials revealed to NBC News that US President Joe Biden had postponed his planned trip to a number of countries in the Middle East. Biden had previously planned to arrive in the region this month but on Friday officials said the trip had been pushed back to July.

During his trip, Biden plans to meet several top officials in the Middle East, including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right wing Yamina Party, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is the de facto ruler of the kingdom. Since he took up his responsibilities, Bin Salman has been involved in flagrant violations of human rights and international law.

US officials have reiterated that the trip, which will be Biden’s first visit to the Middle East as president, will take place sooner or later because of its importance in tackling major crises related to the daily life of the American people.

“We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC (the Gulf Cooperation Council)+3 Summit,” a senior administration official told NBC News. “We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will.”

READ: Two Saudi delegations to visit US as ties improve

During his electoral campaign, Biden pledged to respect human rights and put an end to human rights violations. But since taking office he had shown a disregard for this pledge.

Last month Israeli occupation forces murdered prominent female Palestinian Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of. In spite of her holding American citizenship, Biden has done little to achieve justice for the journalist or punish her murderers. Instead, Biden is planning to give a boost to the Israeli government throughout his visit to the country and by meeting its officials.

Palestinians are watching as he continues the policy of supporting the oppressor, who is killing them, desecrating their holy sites, stealing their lands, demolishing their homes and locking up their sons in harsh conditions.

“We do not understand this kind of American treatment with the Israeli occupation state which keeps oppressing us and disregarding our rights,” Wasfi Ghali, who spent 17 years in the Israeli occupation’s jails, said. “We feel that the US rewards the Israeli occupation when it oppresses the Palestinians. Does Biden not see the continuous Israeli attacks on Palestinians?”

Just last week, Israeli occupation forces killed another Palestinian journalist, Ghofran Warasneh, at the entrance of a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. The US called for Israel to investigate her “death” and did nothing more. There was no condemnation of this crime.

Instead, the perpetrators are being hailed and protected by Israeli officials, and Biden is still planning to visit.

Meanwhile, the US president’s planned visit to Saudi has led to widespread condemnation from dissidents. During his trip to the kingdom, Biden will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who the CIA said ordered the killing of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. During his electoral campaign, Biden pledged to achieve justice for Khashoggi and deal with Saudi Arabia as a “pariah state”. However, he is planning to visit the kingdom and sit with its dictator.

READ: Abbas says US administration ‘must turn talk into action’

“We don’t understand this kind of dealing, or compromises, on American values, on human rights values,” Saudi writer and activist Hala Al-Dosari is reported as saying by the Washington Post.

Abdullah Al-Ouda, who lives in the US and whose father has been detained in Saudi since September 2017, tweeted: “We as Saudi activists harmed by MBS feel betrayed by Biden… Shaking hands with the same person who killed our friend #khashoggi, arrested our loved ones and tortured them, banned many of our family members from travel in order to blackmail us, and harass us here in the US?!”

Why is Biden doing this?

Biden is seeking the support of the Jewish lobbies in the US through his visit to Israel and praise from the US citizens by lowering fuel prices following his visit to Saudi Arabia who he hopes will agree to increase oil production. All this is ahead of the midterm elections, which could see him lose his grip on power.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.