Biden trip seeks to obliterate Palestinian cause

Demonstration in Ramallah against Arab countries signing normalisation deals with Israel

THE Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has condemned US President Joe Biden’s forthcoming visit to the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia, as being designed to ‘suffocate’ the Palestinian cause.

‘The main purpose of Biden’s Middle East trip next month is to obliterate the Palestinian cause, and expand the influence of the Zionist regime,’ Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of the Gaza-based movement, warned.

He called for greater unity among all ranks and organisations of the resistance front in order to prevent any further infiltration attempt by the Zionists in the region, and end the presence of the Israeli regime in the region.

Haniyeh also strongly opposed any attempt to bring the occupying Tel Aviv regime into military coalitions in the region.

The Hamas leader warned that the impending dangers are much more serious and urgent than many realise, and he demanded the formation of a more unified front against the Israeli regime and Zionism, because during his upcoming Middle East tour US president Biden will pushing for a normalisation agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime.

Haniyeh added that the potential dangers facing the occupied Palestinian lands and al-Quds (East Jerusalem), Israeli plans against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of al-Quds, settlements expansion projects and Judaisation of al-Quds, the brutal siege of Gaza and the sufferings of Palestinians living in the territories occupied since 1948, highlight such a necessity.

The rise of new currents which would try to serve the interests of the United States and Israel above and beyond normalisation, Israel’s frantic attempts to have a presence in military and security alliances to counter Palestinian resistance groups and similar movements in the region, as well as the ongoing Ukraine conflict which will have significant repercussions on the global political arena, are other sources of concern, Haniyeh pointed out.

Biden will travel to the Middle East next month, making stops in Israel, the West Bank, and then Saudi Arabia, where he’ll seek to rebuild relations after previously vowing to make the kingdom a ‘pariah’.

The president’s travels will see him in the region between July 13 and 16, and he’ll meet with more than a dozen of his counterparts, a senior US administration official said on condition of anonymity.

The US expects more Arab states to make moves to ‘normalise’ their ties with the Israeli regime during Biden’s trip.

The final leg of the trip will take him to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has been linked to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul – but who denies any involvement.

Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid has already said that the regime is looking to Biden’s Middle East trip next month to help improve relations with Saudi Arabia.

‘The fact that the president’s going to fly directly from here to Saudi Arabia is probably signifying that there is a link between the visit and the ability to improve relations,’ Lapid said on June 15 at a news conference in Jerusalem.

‘There is a list of target countries: Saudi is first among them,’ along with other nations such as Indonesia, he told reporters.

However, when asked if there would also be an Israeli official on the plane to the kingdom, Lapid said he did not know.

When Biden visits Israeli-occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds) next month, he will not only be met with a new face as Israel’s prime minister but also with ‘a request for a special budget’ to help the regime complete its development of laser weapons to intercept rockets and drones, and work in parallel to its increasingly ineffective anti-air batteries such as the Iron Dome, US-based military news outlet ‘Breaking Defense’ reported last Friday.

Citing what is referred to as ‘the visit plan’ shared by Israeli military sources, the report said Biden is due to ‘stop by’ an Israeli air force base, where two Israeli weapons makers, Rafael and Elbit Systems, will display the prototypes of laser systems being developed for the interception of rockets and drones but which need ‘more money to complete the development’.

The report further noted that the US annually provides the occupying regime with $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), ‘including $500 million for cooperative programmes for missile defence.’

The Israeli regime’s air strikes against targets in Syria have been conducted with the secret approval of the American military.

The new funding request ‘is aimed at adding funds to that portion of the FMF pool,’ the report, citing Israeli military sources, said, adding: ‘Israel will ask for around $300 million in extra funds.’

According to the report, the Israeli regime has long been seeking the additional US funding for its laser capabilities, which ‘are not tied directly into a recently-announced regional air defence network, although it is possible that if such a system is made operational, it would be exported down the line.’

Pointing to the recent political upheaval in Israel that has led to the downfall of the regime’s former prime minister Naftali Bennett, the report further underlined, ‘The common feeling among Israeli politicians and experts is that whoever greets Biden at Ben Gurion airport will not impact the national security priorities that will be discussed.’

‘Our working assumption is still that the trip will go forward as planned,’ the US Embassy in occupied East Jerusalem said in a statement as cited in the report.

‘The relations between the US and Israel are solid,’ added a senior Israeli military source.

‘The issues that will be on the table during the visit are of utmost importance to both the US and Israel. I’m confident that the talks will be fruitful for both sides.’

According to the report, another issue the Israeli regime officials are expected to raise with the US president during his visit will be ‘ongoing efforts by Saudi Arabia to achieve nuclear power.’

Noting that ‘the Saudis are promoting a project to build a nuclear reactor to produce energy’ with Russian, Chinese and South Korean companies mentioned as top contenders to win the project, the report further emphasised that the exclusion of the US-based Westinghouse Corporation from the competition has raised concerns in Washington and Tel Aviv.

‘When he visits Riyadh, Biden is expected by Israel to raise the issue, as Washington does not want companies from its two biggest rivals to win such a sensitive project with its Persian Gulf partner,’ the report stressed.

The Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman has been secretly pursuing plans to legalise the ownership of property by Israelis in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

It further underlined that the Israeli regime ‘shares the same concerns’, citing sources within the regime as saying that ‘the Saudis are unhappy with two US demands for working with the American company: a Saudi commitment not to enrich uranium in its territory and a signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.’

The report goes on to cite the former director of the Israeli regime’s Atomic Energy Commission, Uzi Eilam, as insisting that Washington would be happy if an American company is selected to build the Saudi nuclear plant.

‘The American preference is clear and has a solid reason — with an American company involved, the regulations dictated by the International Atomic Energy Agency will be fulfilled in full,’ Eilam said.

This is while the US-sponsored Israeli regime is widely reported to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads while refusing any international inspection of its nuclear facilities, and declining to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) itself.