President Joe Biden canceled a planned trip to Colorado Monday to focus on national security, the White House said in a statement, as he considers a trip to Israel.
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden canceled a planned trip to Colorado Monday to focus on national security, the White House said in a statement, as he considers a trip to Israel.
The change of plans comes as the US works to minimize the impact on civilians of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas and prevent it from spreading around the region.
“The president will be staying home here at the White House today to focus on national security issues,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on MSNBC. “He’ll be meeting with his national security team, obviously, this will be the top of the agenda.”
Biden is considering a trip to Israel in the coming days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited him, people familiar with the planning said. Kirby said he was not prepared to announce any overseas travel for the president.
His potential trip to the country comes as there are still an estimated 15 Americans unaccounted for, some of whom may be hostages of Hamas, and as at least 30 US citizens are reported to have died in the conflict, according to the State Department.
This would be Biden’s second visit to an active war zone as president. He traveled to Kyiv earlier this year in a secretly planned and carefully orchestrated trip, during which he walked the capital’s streets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as air raid sirens blared.
The White House is working hard to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas and ensure it does not spread to other countries in the region. Biden has warned Iran, as well as other nations and militia groups, from getting involved.
Biden, in an interview Sunday with CBS News’s 60 Minutes, cautioned against a long-term Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip.
Biden stressed his belief that Israel would act by the rules of war and that innocent civilians would have access to medicine, food and water. He said he didn’t believe Israel should control the territory long-term, saying instead the territory should be governed by “a Palestinian authority.”
“I think it’d be a big mistake,” Biden said. “Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people.”
Biden had been set to tour a wind tower and speak on his signature “Bidenomics” agenda, highlighting the contrast between his agenda and Republican policies.
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