President Joe Biden will not visit Jordan after the country canceled plans for a summit with Egyptian and Palestinian leaders, according to a White House official, a blow to diplomatic efforts to contain a war between Israel and Hamas that threatens to engulf the region.
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden will not visit Jordan after the country canceled plans for a summit with Egyptian and Palestinian leaders, according to a White House official, a blow to diplomatic efforts to contain a war between Israel and Hamas that threatens to engulf the region.
The decision was made after consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced following an explosion at a Gaza hospital that killed hundreds, the official said.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced earlier Tuesday said the proposed summit between Biden, Abdullah II, Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was canceled, saying the decision was taken by mutual consent after the reports about the hospital blast.
Biden is currently en route to Israel for a Wednesday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and had planned to attend the summit in Jordan before returning to the US.
The Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 500 people had died — a toll which would make it the deadliest attack since the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas on Israel. Israel has been bombing Gaza as its forces prepare for a ground invasion to crush Hamas, a group designated as a terrorist organization by both the US and European Union.
Hundreds Dead at Gaza Hospital as Israel, Hamas Trade Blame
Hamas and Israel traded accusations on Tuesday, with Hamas saying the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike. Israel’s army said the hospital was struck in a failed missile attack by Palestinian militants. Netanyahu said that Israeli planes did not attack the hospital and also blamed Islamic Jihad militants.
The Biden administration will call for an investigation into the explosion, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A Pentagon spokesperson earlier Tuesday said the US does not have “all the facts” about what happened to the Gaza hospital, which is in Hamas-controlled territory.
“I don’t know who was responsible,” Pentagon Deputy Spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters. She said the US expects Israel like other allies to “uphold the law of war.”
Biden’s Israel Trip Faces Setbacks After Deadly Hospital Blast
The explosion, though, threatens to unravel Biden’s efforts to ensure that the Hamas-Israel war does not escalate in the region. Egypt and Turkey were among the countries to condemn the attack and blame Israel for it.
Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank, declared three days of mourning after the blast and left Amman, according to the official PA news service.
–With assistance from Jenny Leonard.
(Updates with additional details, background, starting in fourth paragraph)
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