Status: 07/15/2022 4:42 p.m
During his trip to the Middle East, US President Biden met Palestinian President Abbas. Biden promised additional financial support, but he made no clear political commitments.
Applause for US President Joe Biden at Auguste Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The clinic, named after the last German empress, is one of six facilities in the Arab eastern part of the city that, as a network, are of central importance for the health care of the Palestinian population. It offers specialist medical treatments and specializes in the treatment of cancer patients, for example.
ARD Studio Tel Aviv
The US President now came to the Mount of Olives with good news. US provides $100 million in additional financial aid to Palestinian clinic network in East Jerusalem.
Biden said, “Palestinians and Israelis deserve the same level of freedom, security, growth and dignity. Access to health care when you need it is central to living with dignity.”
Biden’s government also wants to provide more than $200 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinians and development aid projects.
Trump reduced support for Palestinians
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had largely stopped providing financial support to the Palestinians. Money has been flowing again since Joe Biden took office. However, there were no political signals in favor of the Palestinians.
In Bethlehem, protesters waited for Biden to commemorate the shooting of US-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
A US investigation concluded that the reporter was probably shot dead by an Israeli soldier, but there was no indication that it was done intentionally. This conclusion was sharply criticized by the reporter’s relatives. The US President promised further attempts to clarify the case.
“Will never give up the pursuit of peace”
At the press conference following his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Biden announced that he would continue to work towards a solution to the Middle East conflict: “I know that the goal of a two-state solution seems very far away, but we will never give up our quest for peace give up.
Even if the resumption of negotiations is not possible at this time, under my leadership the United States will continue to try to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together.”
Abbas urged the US to take concrete political steps, such as opening a Palestinian-only consulate in Jerusalem.
Regarding a possible resumption of negotiations with Israel, Abbas said that Israel must end the occupation of the Palestinian territories. The hand of the Palestinians is stretched out for peace, Abbas said.
Following his meeting with Abbas, Biden visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which stands on the site where tradition says Jesus was born.
Biden continues to travel to Saudi Arabia
In the afternoon, Air Force One took off for Saudi Arabia – the first direct flight by a US President from Israel to the Gulf Kingdom.
The evening before, the aviation authority in Riyadh had announced that the Saudi Arabian airspace will be completely open to foreign flights in the future – including Israeli airlines. The US President spoke of a historic decision.
Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid thanked the political leadership in Saudi Arabia and said the opening of the airspace was only a first step in the rapprochement between the two countries.
Biden visits Bethlehem, meets Abbas
Tim Aßmann, ARD Tel Aviv, July 15, 2022 3:45 p.m