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Palestinians to stage rally in protest at Biden’s visit to occupied West Bank

US President Joe Biden departs for his first trip as president to the Middle East where he will visit the Israeli-occupied territories and Saudi Arabia, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, the United States, on July 12, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands of Palestinians are set to stage a rally in the West Bank as US President Joe Biden is en route to the Israeli-occupied territories to kick off a controversial trip to the Middle East region.

Social media activists called on Palestinians to pour onto streets in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of al-Quds, at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Thursday.

The activists added that the demonstrators will converge on al-Manara Square in a show of fierce opposition to the occupying Israeli regime and its arbitrary measures against the Palestinian nation.

Biden is en route to the occupied Palestinian territories. He spends two days in occupied al-Quds for talks with Israeli leaders before heading to the West Bank, where he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.

Afterward, he will take a direct flight from Israel to the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea for talks with Saudi officials and to take part in a summit of Persian Gulf allies.

Hamas statement

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement said in a statement that Biden’s Middle East visit is in the best interests of the Israeli regime and is detrimental to the Palestinian cause.

“The regional tour is aimed at driving more wedges among states, creating new alliances in support of the Zionist regime and its expansionist policies, and liquidating the resistance movements of the Muslim world,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem stated.

He added, “All the trips of former US presidents to the region focused on advancing the interests of the occupying regime, and were meant to paint a rather unrealistic picture of Israel’s nature. They stopped short of exposing hostile Israeli actions against our nation.”

Qassem went on to say that attempts to warm ties between Israel and the Arab world and forge military coalitions, which would include Israel, pose a significant danger to the Palestinian issue and are detrimental to the national interests of the entire region.

The Hamas spokesman demanded stronger relations and unity among countries, political factions and movements opposed to the policies of the Tel Aviv regime and the United States.

Political experts say Biden’s visit to the Israeli-occupied territories and Saudi Arabia will lead to an increase in the repression of Palestinians and activists in Persian Gulf countries.

The experts argue the visit appears to be a sign that Washington is forsaking any meaningful contribution toward solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and rather, it is solely pursuing further normalization of Israeli ties with Arab countries.

Activists have said that the repression of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation has increased significantly over the past several years, particularly with the emergence of technologies like Blue Wolf tracking system, which captures images of Palestinians and matches them to an Israeli military database, and Pegasus spyware, which hacks users' cellphones.

“What it means for the Palestinian public is increased repression, because these agreements have a component that deals with repressive technologies and the development of these technologies,” Dana el-Kurd, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond, said.

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