White House Officials to Meet Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian-American Leaders in Chicago Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

Senior White House officials are set to convene with Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian-American community leaders in Chicago on Thursday, CNN reports, as President Joe Biden faces mounting concerns and discontent regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict across the nation.

The meeting, slated for Thursday, is part of the ongoing efforts by the Biden administration to directly engage with stakeholders regarding the situation in Gaza, although discussions are expected to encompass broader issues, including Islamophobia in the aftermath of Hamas’ attacks.

Scheduled participants include key White House figures such as Tom Perez, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Steve Benjamin, Director of Public Engagement, and Mazen Basrawi, White House Liaison to Muslim-American communities, among others.

However, Vivian Khalaf, Chairman of the Board of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, disclosed that she declined the invitation, expressing deep dissatisfaction with the administration’s approach to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Several community leaders indicated a potential boycott of the meeting as a form of pressure on the Biden administration to advocate for a permanent ceasefire in the conflict.

The Chicago area, with significant Muslim and Arab populations, remains deeply affected by recent incidents, including the tragic death of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, allegedly targeted for being Muslim.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other officials have intensified calls for a temporary ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, urging Israel to prioritize civilian protection. However, negotiations have stalled amidst escalating humanitarian concerns.

The expected meeting coincides with Biden’s visit to Michigan, where he faces lingering discontent over his handling of the conflict, particularly evident during the Democratic primary contest.

The White House’s outreach efforts extend to Arab and Muslim communities across various states, reflecting a commitment to engage with stakeholders and address pressing concerns amidst the ongoing crisis.

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