MUSCATINE, Iowa–By serving as the president of the United States Palestinian Council, John Dabeet has had many opportunities to meet with leaders at different levels and discuss international relations with Palestine. June 6, Dabeet had the unique experience of meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other Palestinian American leaders to offer insights before President Joe Biden made a four and a half day trip to Israel, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia.
Dabeet learned about this opportunity to participate in this meeting quite suddenly, as he received an invitation to attend July 5 and flew to Washington D. C. that night in order to get to the meeting, which took place at the White House the following day, on time. Dabeet returned to Muscatine July 7, the day after the hour and 15 minute long meeting took place.
To start, Dabeet and the other Palestinian American leaders received a briefing on Biden’s trip, giving them an idea of where he visited and what leaders he met with. Following the briefing, each of the assembled guests had time to share their thoughts on the upcoming trip and ask questions.
Though Dabeet has met with many different government officials at different times to talk about relations with Palestine, has received the Palestinian Person of the Year and inaugural Palestinian President Academic Diplomacy Award, and even worked with Biden’s foreign policy team following his election, he found this gathering quite extraordinary. He observed: It’s a unique experience. I’m honored and humbled to be part of that experience. Going to the White House isn’t an experience that’s easy to describe.”
Dabeet also valued that Sullivan and others involved with national security took the time to listen to the stories and concerns of Palestinian American leaders and to consider them as they plan for Biden’s trip.
Though tensions between Israel and Palestine have existed for decades and Biden’s visit to the region lasted for only a short time, Dabeet hopes that the ideas he and other Palestinian American leaders shared with Sullivan will offer a way for those thinking about American foreign policy to begin working for positive changes. “At least it’s a start for him to be there talking to leaders in the region,” said Dabeet.
In particular, Dabeet hopes Biden, his advisors, and the other world leaders he works will will start focusing on finding a, “just and lasting solution,” for peace between Palestine and Israel and further investigating human rights abuses that have taken place during the conflict between the two countries.