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Five US presidents have visited Palestine with zero benefits

July 14, 2022 at 11:34 am

A view of a billboard, part of a campaign organised by Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) ahead of US President’s arrival for an official visit in Bethlehem, West Bank on July 13, 2022. [Hisham K. K. Abu Shaqra – Anadolu Agency]

As US President Joe Biden gets ready to visit occupied Palestine and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as part of his tour of the region, he becomes the fifth US president to make the trip since the establishment of the PA in 1993 following the PLO’s signing of the Oslo Accords.

Bill Clinton visited the region in December 1998, and met with the late Yasser Arafat. Clinton addressed the Palestinian National Council which, at his insistence, removed the article which calls for a struggle against the occupation from the PLO Charter.

In 2008, George W Bush visited Ramallah and Bethlehem, and met with Abbas. They discussed peace efforts and then visited the Church of the Nativity. Barak Obama followed in Bush’s exact footsteps in 2013, as did Donald Trump in 2017.

During their visits, the US presidents discussed peace efforts and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Peace is still an illusion and the State of Palestine is nowhere closer to being a reality.

Meanwhile, Israel has continued to seize more Palestinian land for the expansion of its illegal settlements, despite the fact that successive US presidents keep asking Israel to stop expanding them or to dismantle them. They are, says Washington, an “obstacle to peace”. Israel ignores such requests. As Air Force One touched down in Tel Aviv, Biden would have been oblivious to the fact that the occupation army was in the process of confiscating yet more Palestinian land to expand illegal settlements. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law.

To express their rejection of Biden’s visit, the Palestinians and human rights groups, including Israeli groups, organised protests and used advertising hoardings to highlight Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem, for example, displayed posters in several areas of the occupied West Bank saying “Mr President, this is apartheid”. The posters included details of the fragmented occupied Palestinian territories.

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