Biden should tell Israelis that 'enough is enough,' Palestinian politician says

Mustafa Barghouti questioned the contrast in support for Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Mustafa Barghouti, of the Palestinian National Initiative party, speaks in Ramallah about the Gaza humanitarian crisis. AFP
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A prominent Palestinian doctor and human rights activist who serves as the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative raised serious concerns about the US stance on the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Accusing Washington of bias and showing a disregard for international law through its unwavering support for Israel, Dr Mustafa Barghouti, 69, pointed to the apparent inconsistency between the US support for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the unconditional backing for Israel in its long-standing conflict with the Palestinians.

“The United States and western countries support Zelenskyy, who says he's fighting occupation. Well, in our case, they are supporting the occupiers. I don't understand this logic, but this would mean one thing … which is that international law doesn't exist any more. It's the jungle,” Dr Barghouti told The National.

Furthermore, Dr Barghouti, who was minister of information in 2007 for the Palestinian unity government lamented that those wielding power “can do whatever they want”.

He accused the Biden administration and the international community of obstructing every possibility for peace and of being unwilling to launch a substantial diplomatic effort in the Middle East.

President Joe “Biden and his foreign minister [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] kept saying for the past three years that they are not going to engage in a peace process because the time is not suitable. What they really meant is that Israel doesn't want it and they abided by that,” he said.

“The result of that is what we see today.”

Mr Biden is due to travel to Israel and Jordan on Wednesday to meet both Israeli and Arab leaders as concerns rise that the Israeli-Hamas conflict could expand into a larger regional war.

Mr Biden is looking to send the strongest message yet that the US is behind Israel, but he also wants to address the appalling humanitarian situation in Gaza, the White House said.

“If he wants to make a real impact … then he should tell the Israelis that enough is enough. How many wars they can conduct and continue to conduct against the Palestinian people?” said Dr Barghouti.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu is campaigning to create global hate towards Palestinians by dehumanising Palestinians,” he warned.

Dr Barghouti said the October 7 Hamas attack that killed some 1,400 people in Israel was a response to decades of occupation and stemmed in part from Hamas's frustration that Israel was establishing relations with Arab countries. Hamas also took about 200 Israelis and foreign nationals hostage.

When asked if he believes Hamas will agree to release the hostages, he said: “They will release [the hostages] if the bombardment stops. They will release all the internationals who are not Israelis immediately and then there should be an exchange of prisoners. But there has to be a ceasefire before … How can they do anything without that?”

The Palestinian National Initiative is a small, centre-left political party.

Updated: October 17, 2023, 4:39 PM