Palestinian-Americans demand 'equal protection' and 'accountability' as Biden visits

Palestinian-Americans demand 'equal protection' and 'accountability' as Biden visits
The statement coincided with US president Joe Biden’s arrival in the country, as part of his Middle East tour.
4 min read
West Bank
14 July, 2022
Biden is scheduled to meet Israeli officials throughout Thursday and Palestinian president on Friday. [Getty]

The Palestinian-American community in Palestine demanded that the US government and the US state department ensure "their rights as US citizens to be given equal protection and attention to those of other US citizens of dual nationality".
The community’s demands were voiced out in a press conference in Ramallah, organized by US citizens of Palestinian descent residing in Palestine. The press conference coincided with US president Joe Biden's arrival in the country, as part of his Middle East tour.
"Those of us who have experienced life under occupation first-hand appreciate the rights that may be taken for granted in the US, but as history has taught us none of us are truly free until the values of freedom and equality are enjoyed by all," the statement said.

"The recent killings of Shireen Abu Akleh and Omar Asaad have served to highlight the lack of political will in genuinely addressing the grievances of US citizens from Palestinian descent and their families' calls for accountability," the statement highlighted.
Omar Asaad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-US citizen, died on 11 January in the village of Jiljeliyeh, north of Ramallah. Assad was on his way home from the house of a friend when he was stopped by Israeli soldiers.
Eye witnesses told The New Arab at the time that the soldiers arrested, handcuffed, beat and dragged Assad to a construction site, where he was put to sit on the floor with other detainees for more than one hour. A Palestinian farmer who was detained with Assad, and who found his body, told The New Arab that the soldiers "left without saying anything" after discovering that Assad had died.
Following the incident, the US state department said it wanted a "thorough criminal probe" into Assad's death. The Israeli military later said that it had "disciplined" three commanders of the military unit that had detained Assad, by preventing them from holding commanding positions for two years.

 The other case highlighted is that of Palestinian-American journalist and Aljazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin on 11 May.

Field investigations by several human rights groups, and media outlets including CNN, as well as eyewitness accounts gathered by The New Arab, all pointed to Israeli forces as the source of the fire that killed Abu Akleh. The Israeli military eventually admitted that it was "very likely" that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire.
The US government, however, categorically refused to admit Israel's responsibility for Abu Akleh's killing, insisting on examining the bullet that caused her death by US experts. The Palestinian Authority handed over the bullet to the US in early July. The US examination concluded that the artifact was "too damaged" to determine its source.

"We believe that there is a clear discrimination by the US government when it comes to protecting Palestinian US citizens," Ubai Aboudi, director of the Bisan research center in Ramallah and a US citizen, told the media at the conference.
"We can see US intervention to protect the lives, the rights and the property of US citizens in other countries like Iran, Turkey and other places," Aboudi added. "This is not the case when it comes to Palestinian-US citizens whose rights are violated by the Israeli occupation, and we want the US government to assume its responsibilities and hold Israel accountable."

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US president Joe Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday on a three-day-visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He is scheduled to hold several meetings with Israeli government and opposition officials as well as a joint meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, and the leaders of India and the UAE.
Later on Thursday, Biden is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Jewish Olympics in Jerusalem, where he will meet with 250 Jewish-American athletes.
On Friday, Biden is planned to meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, for one hour, before heading to the Tel Aviv airport and fly to Saudi Arabia.