Biden To Ask 'Tough Questions As A Friend' In His Israel Solidarity Visit, To Skip Jordan

Move could be perceived as provocative by Iran

In a significant development, US President Joe Biden, who was set to visit Middle East, including Israel and Jordan to show US's full support to Israel amid ongoing crisis in Israel, has cancelled his Jordan visit owing to escalating war scenario, White House announced.

The primary objective of his visit is to engage with both Israeli and Arab leadership as concerns rise over the Israel-Hamas conflict potentially escalating into a more extensive regional crisis.

Joe Biden

The White House has confirmed that the Jordan portion of US President Joe Biden's trip to the Middle East has been cancelled, media reports said. He was supposed to hold a summit in Amman on Wednesday with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, but Jordan announced that it was scrapping the meeting following the bombing of a Gaza City hospital that killed hundreds, The Times of Israel reported.

Israel has said an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket was responsible for the blast but much of the Arab world had blamed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

A White House official in a statement said that the decision to scrap the Amman summit was made after Biden consulted with Jordan's King Abdullah "and in light of the days of mourning announced by" Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following the hospital blast, The Times of Israel reported.

Biden sent King Abdullah "his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded," the White House official said, being careful not to place blame on a particular party as the US works to determine who was responsible.

"Biden looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days," the White House official added.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken officially confirmed President Biden's travel plans to Israel. This visit comes at a critical juncture as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorates, and Israel prepares for a potential ground operation within the 141-square-mile territory to eradicate Hamas militants.

According to U.S. and Israeli officials, this assault is deemed the most lethal attack against Jews since the Holocaust. President Biden aims to emphasize unwavering U.S. support for Israel. His administration has committed to providing military assistance, deploying U.S. carriers, and delivering aid to the region. Additionally, officials have indicated their intent to request over $2 billion in extra aid for both Israel and Ukraine, which is currently facing Russia's invasion.

Antony Blinken

The visit is seen as an opportunity for President Biden to reinforce his national security credentials in the eyes of American voters, with the 2024 election just over a year away. It also underscores his commitment to fulfilling his campaign promise of reasserting American leadership after four years of the "America First" foreign policy under former President Donald Trump.

President Biden's presence in the region could be perceived as provocative by Iran, the chief sponsor of Hamas, and may be seen as tone-deaf by Arab nations as civilian casualties continue to mount in Gaza.

Blinken emphasized the critical nature of President Biden's visit, stating, "He is coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world."

Biden had originally planned to travel to Pueblo, Colorado, on Monday but opted to postpone the visit to consult with his advisors and engage with fellow world leaders about the unfolding Middle East situation.