Concerns over human rights situations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been raised by rights groups ahead of the GCC+3 summit.
Amnesty has called on US President Joe Biden to halt his support for Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians and condemn its systematic abuses during his Tel Aviv visit.
“The Biden administration must stop its brazen support of shocking crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations committed by its allies, knowingly facilitating rampant abuses with impunity,” said Paul O’Brien, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director on Wednesday.
The statement comes as Biden tours lands illegally occupied by Israel as part of his first regional visit since coming to office last year. The US president arrived on Wednesday and is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.
Amnesty said Biden should “prioritise the advancement of human rights over short-term interests, and make clear that there can be no double standards when it comes to promoting human rights.”
“If the US continues on its current course, it will only embolden abusive governments to further silence dissenting voices, oppress minorities and ruthlessly crush the rights of millions of people in the region,” added O’Brien.
Since announcing his visit, rights groups have called on the US president to address the Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians.
The Biden administration has also come under fire for not holding the Zionist state to account for the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The veteran journalist was killed by an Israeli sniper on 11 May while covering Israeli occupation forces’ raids of Jenin.
“The lack of accountability for the government of Israel’s serious violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, is perpetuated by US policy,” said the Amnesty official.
To date, the US has failed to label Israel as the perpetrator of the crime, despite the eyewitness testimonies, various investigations by leading American media outlets, and rights groups. The Israeli sniper has admitted to the crime though claimed the killing was “unintentional”.
‘Covering for impunity’
“Instead of providing cover for impunity, the US must support independent, thorough, and credible investigations into these crimes, such as those opened by the International Criminal Court,” said O’Brien.
Failing to address Israel’s human rights violations, Biden expressed his pride in being a Zionist moments after he landed in the occupied land. Welcoming Biden on the tarmac, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the president as “a great Zionist” and friend of the occupying state.
Biden followed with a speech on the red carpet, in which he expressed his pride in visiting “an independent Jewish state of Israel”.
“The fact is, you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist,” Biden echoed, while standing at the Ben Gurion Airport in Lydd.
Biden arrived just days after the 74-year mark of the Israeli occupation of Lydd which saw a brutal massacre dubbed by Israel as Operation Danny. Thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their lands as the Zionist state made way for illegal Jewish settlers.
Amnesty also slammed the ongoing forced displacements of Palestinians, including the most recent ones in Masafer Yatta, where 215 Palestinian households are located.
According to the UN, up to 1,150 indigenous Palestinians, of which 569 are children, live in the houses in Masafer Yatta.
“The Biden administration and US Congress must stop the supply of arms to the Israeli military until it is guaranteed that such equipment would not be used for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” said Amnesty.
The US is a backer of the Israeli regime, pumping $3.3 billion annually into its economy in addition to $500 million for the joint US-Israeli research, development, and deployment of missile systems.
Despite reputable rights groups worldwide describing Israel as an apartheid state, Biden dismissed those claims during an interview with Tel Aviv’s Channel 12 air hours after his arrival.
“Israel is a democracy, Israel is an ally, Israel is our friend,” said Biden.
Biden is scheduled to meet with GCC+3 leaders in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in a joint summit that has raised speculations over a possible ‘Arab NATO’ to tackle Iranian threats.
Egypt, Iraq and Jordan are also part of the talks.
Addressing Saudi Arabia, Amnesty also called on Biden to address the kingdom’s “crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, association, and movement”.
Similarly, it urged the US president to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi Cairo’s “appalling human rights record”.
“Amnesty International urges President Biden to press Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in public as well as privately, for meaningful and long-lasting human rights reforms, starting by immediately and unconditionally releasing all those arbitrarily detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights or for reasons of discrimination,” said the rights group.