As President Biden’s July 13-14 visit to Israel and Palestine approaches, events on the ground are propelling the region towards escalating conflict, violence, and suffering. Approvals of plans for more Israeli settlements in the West Bank are accelerating, as are threats to dispossess and forcibly expel Palestinians. No one has yet been held accountable for the May 11 killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, though multiple media investigations have all concluded that she was likely shot to death by an Israeli soldier. And the East Jerusalem hospital network that is critical for the welfare of so many Palestinians remains drastically underfunded. The President must address these issues in his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leadership.
In May, Israel approved over 4,000 new settlement units for advancement, and another 3,000, in an area known as E-1 in the center of the West Bank, are scheduled to be advanced on July 18, just after President Biden leaves. Meanwhile, over 1,000 Palestinians face imminent expulsion from their homes in Masafer Yatta, an alarming escalation that dozens of members of Congress have called on the administration to prevent. Dozens of members of Congress have also called on the administration to ensure a transparent and independent or U.S.-led investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.