JERUSALEM: US President Joe Biden’s administration has invited relatives of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to Washington, an American official said Wednesday, as Biden arrived in the Zionist entity. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “has invited the family to the United States to be able to sit down and engage with him directly”, Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, was killed while covering a Zionist army raid in the occupied West Bank in May. The United Nations has concluded the Palestinian-American journalist was killed by Zionist fire. Washington has agreed this was likely, but also said there was no evidence the killing was intentional.
Abu Akleh’s family has voiced outrage over the Biden administration’s “abject response” to her death. Lina Abu Akleh, Shireen’s niece, confirmed she had spoken to Blinken on Wednesday. “We got a call a few hours ago, around noontime and we reiterated our demands and our request to meet the president on his arrival” in Jerusalem, she told AFP.
She said the family voiced its “disappointment” with Washington’s July 4 statement on Abu Akleh’s killing that appeared to clear Zionist forces of intentional wrongdoing. Blinken gave no indication as to whether the family would meet a top US official while Biden’s delegation was in Jerusalem, Lina Abu Akleh said.
Biden – whose first regional tour since taking office will also take him to Saudi Arabia – pledged strong backing for the Zionist entity, which has forged ties with several Arab states in recent years and hopes to do so with Riyadh as well. “We’ll continue to advance (the Zionist entity’s) integration into the region,” Biden said after Air Force One touched down at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv to a red-carpet welcome.
The Zionist entity’s caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid said that “we will discuss building a new security and economy architecture with the nations of the Middle East”, following US-brokered accords in 2020 with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. “And we will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will stop the Iranian nuclear program,” he added, amid ongoing efforts by world powers to salvage Iran’s frayed 2015 nuclear deal, which the Zionist entity opposes.
Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday will be the major focus of the tour. Air Force One will make a first direct flight from the Zionist entity to Saudi Arabia amid efforts to build ties between the Zionist entity and the conservative Gulf kingdom, which does not recognize the Zionist entity’s existence. Moments after Biden landed, the Zionist military showed him its new Iron Beam system, an anti-drone laser it claims is crucial to countering Iran’s fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi warned earlier Wednesday that if Biden’s goal on the trip was to bolster the Zionist entity’s security, he was destined to fail. If US visits “to the countries of the region are to strengthen the position of the Zionist regime… their efforts will not create security for the Zionists in any way,” Raisi said.
Biden, 79, will also meet Palestinian leaders angered by what they describe as Washington’s failure to curb Zionist aggression. The persistent frustrations of Zionist-Palestinian diplomacy are nothing new for Biden, who first visited the region in 1973 after being elected to the Senate. Palestinians claim Zionist-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and, ahead of the visit, accused Biden of failing to make good on his pledge to restore the United States as an honest broker in the conflict.
“We only hear empty words and no results,” said Jibril Rajoub, a leader of the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Biden will meet Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, but there is no expectation of bold announcements toward a fresh peace process. – AFP