U.S. President Joe Biden visited the Middle East in July to meet with Palestinian, Israeli, and Saudi Arabian officials. The Biden administration declared that the purpose of the visit was to foster normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production. 

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post before his trip, Biden boasted about becoming the first U.S. president to fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, noting that it would be a symbolic step towards normalization between the two regimes. The president also mentioned that he and Congress had restored $500 million in aid to Palestinians, in an effort to rebuild ties with the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, the Biden administration’s approach to the Middle East remained the same as his predecessor’s — promoting relations between the Israeli regime and Arab dictatorships in the Middle East, while ignoring calls to end the Israeli  occupation of Palestine.  

While the Biden administration reversed Trump's decision to end aid to Palestinians through UNRWA and USAID, it has kept in place all other anti-Palestinian policies. The PLO office in Washington, DC and the U.S. consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem remain closed; the U.S. embassy to Israel has not been moved back to Tel Aviv. When Biden met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, he only offered minor gestures to ease life under the apartheid regime: the promise that Israelis would allow 4G networks in the West Bank and Gaza by the end of 2023, and grant 24-hour access to the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan by the end of September 2022.  

The expansion of the Allenby Bridge crossing hours has already been postponed. It is similarly unlikely that 4G networks will be expanded throughout the West Bank and Gaza anytime soon, if at all.  The Palestinian economy is deliberately hampered by Israel's refusal to allow anything beyond 2G in Gaza or 3G in the West Bank. Meanwhile, many other countries have been rolling out 5G since 2019.

Standing next to President Abbas in Bethlehem, Biden spoke in favor of a two-state solution and said that “there must be a political horizon that the Palestinian people can actually see or at least feel.” Unfortunately, it seems that his administration will not use its power to create such a political horizon. Rather, Biden's government will bolster Trump's normalization processes, while further arming and financing the Israeli regime to the tune of several billion dollars annually.

It now appears that Biden’s trip to the Middle East was a failure, both for the Palestinians and the American public. Life under the occupation is harsher than ever, with more Palestinian men, women and children being gunned down or detained, often in full view of cameras. And, when it came to bringing down oil prices, Biden's kowtowing to MBS was fruitless. In the weeks after the visit, OPEC decided to cut its oil production by an additional two million barrels a day. Still, it appears that Israeli and Saudi assaults on human rights will continue to be dismissed by the American government.