US President Biden visits Bethlehem, meets Palestinian president

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US President Joe Biden arrived in the biblical town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Friday for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.



Biden was given a bouquet of flowers by a pair of Palestinian children as he arrived. He held his hand over his heart as a Palestinian band played the US national anthem before he entered Abbas’ office.

The brief meeting with the Palestinian leader comes after two days of nonstop talks with Israeli leaders. Biden is then to continue to Saudi Arabia for talks with Arab leaders.

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In the West Bank, Biden is expected to announce some $200 million in additional assistance to the Palestinians, after pledging $100 million to hospitals that serve Palestinians in east Jerusalem earlier Friday.

While voicing support for a Palestinian state, Biden is not expected to float any new diplomatic initiatives during his visit.

Palestinian officials have expressed disappointment over the US inability to restart peace talks.

On his way from Jerusalem, Biden’s motorcade passed by a billboard posted by an Israeli human rights group saying, “Mr. President, this is apartheid.”

A Palestinian woman walks in front of a billboard ahead of the visit of US President Joe Biden in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on July 13, 2022. (Reuters)
A Palestinian woman walks in front of a billboard ahead of the visit of US President Joe Biden in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on July 13, 2022. (Reuters)



Human rights groups say Israel’s treatment amounts to apartheid. Israel rejects the allegation as an attack on its legitimacy.

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