Palestinian-American doctor walks out of White House meeting over handling of Gaza war

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Thaer Ahmad, a Palestinian American doctor, said he walked out of a meeting at the White House Tuesday evening over President Biden’s handling of war in Gaza.

Ahmad, an emergency medicine physician who worked in Gaza in January, said he showed up to a stakeholder meeting at the White House, which was set up in place of a Ramadan celebration. Attendees insisted that there shouldn’t be any food at the meeting, he added.

“It made no sense for us to sort of break bread while talking about a famine taking place,” he told CNN host Kaitlan Collins. “We had shown up and the president and the vice president, the national security adviser are in the room, and there was very brief comments by the president saying he wants to hear from us and he wants to listen to us.”

Ahmad said he spoke first in the meeting and then walked out. He told Collins that he was the only Palestinian in the room Tuesday evening.

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 “Our heart is broken for what’s been taking place over the last six months, and that the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Biden administration, that’s been coming out of the White House, it’s frustrated a lot of people, especially people who are Palestinian Americans, Muslim Americans, Arab Americans,” he said. “We are not satisfied with what has taken place, there has been no concrete steps.”

“I was able to share that with the president and let him know that out of respect for my community, out of respect for all of the people who have suffered and who have been killed in the process, I need to walk out of the meeting,” Ahmad continued. “And I want to walk out with decision-makers and let them know what it feels like for somebody to say something and then walk away from them and not hear them out, not hear their response.

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When asked for Biden’s response to his walk out, the doctor replied, “He actually said that he understood and I walked away.”

Biden hosted a meeting with Muslim community leaders to discuss issues of importance to the community Tuesday, a White House official told The Hill. After the meeting, to honor Ramadan, the White House hosted “a small breaking of the fast, prayer, and Iftar with a number of senior Muslim Admin officials.”

The scaled-down Iftar dinner came after several people who were invited to the event declined, CNN reported. In 2023, the White House hosted nearly 350 people for a reception celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Biden has faced protests for months of his handling of the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, and last week was interrupted at two campaign stops — one in Raleigh, N.C., and one in New York City, when he was alongside former Presidents Obama and Clinton for a major donor event.

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Democrats are fearful that the war in Gaza is turning into a majority political liability for Biden and other candidates as Americans are increasingly disapproving of Israel’s actions

The administration is considering selling Israel up to 50 new F-15 fighter jets, 30 AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missile, as well as Joint Direct Attack Munition kits, The Hill confirmed.

And, earlier this week, seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen were killed Monday in a strike that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu took responsibility for, adding to anger about the situation from Biden critics.

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