Joe Biden to focus on Palestine on final day in Israel and occupied territories

US president to meet Palestinian leaders and visit East Jerusalem hospital

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After two whirlwind days in Israel, US President Joe Biden is shifting focus and heading to the Palestinian territories on Friday before flying to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Biden, who has said repeatedly on this trip that he believes a two-state solution is the only way ahead, will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at his presidential compound in Bethlehem.

Before the meeting, he will visit Augusta Victoria Hospital, part of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network that has received US funding.

Mr Biden is expected to announce another $100 million in funding to the network.

He will also unveil plans to help develop 4G telecommunications networks across the West Bank and Gaza by the end of 2023, and is expected announce another $201m to the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

Last year, Mr Biden reversed his predecessor Donald Trump’s suspension of aid to UNRWA, which has helped Palestinians for seven decades.

His last stop before departing to Jeddah will be at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, where he will express his solidarity and commitment to Christians in the region.

Mr Biden will then fly direct on Air Force One from Tel Aviv to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first US president to do so.

Updated: July 15, 2022, 2:53 PM
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