President Joe Biden will no longer visit Jordan on his high-stakes Middle East trip after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceled a meeting with Biden and Arab leaders over a missile strike at a hospital in Gaza.
The White House confirmed that the Jordan portion of the trip was cut short as the president boarded Air Force One en route to Israel.
The meeting between Biden and Abbas was also scheduled to take place in the presence of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his trip to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and Egyptian President Sissi “, did he declare. » said a White House official.
The official added that the president “expressed his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.”
President Joe Biden boards Air Force One to leave for Israel. He was also scheduled to make a stopover in Jordan, but the president of the Palestinian Authority canceled the meeting after an explosion ripped through a hospital in Gaza.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled his meeting with Joe Biden and therefore Biden’s summit with Arab leaders which was to take place on Wednesday in Amman, Jordan.
Footage of Tuesday’s attack on a Gaza hospital, which health authorities, controlled by the Hamas terror group, called an Israeli attack, while the Israeli Defense Forces said it was hit by gunfire failed rocket attack from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group.
“He looks forward to consulting with these leaders in person soon and has agreed to stay in regular and direct contact with each of them over the coming days,” the official added.
The meeting with Arab leaders was to take place in Amman, Jordan.
A senior Palestinian official said Abbas was returning to Ramallah, the seat of his government in the occupied West Bank, before Biden arrived.
They were due to speak out following the horrific October 7 attack on Israel by the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas.
But Abbas is stepping down to protest an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Gaza hospital that Hamas health officials say killed hundreds.
According to the Health Ministry, an Israeli airstrike hit the hospital in Gaza City which was overflowing with injured people and other Palestinians seeking refuge.
If confirmed, it would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars since 2008.
But the Israeli military denied responsibility and said intelligence suggested the hospital was hit by a missed rocket attack by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said: “An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing near Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza at the time he was hit.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Amman, Jordan, October 17, 2023. Abbas is expected to return to Ramallah, the seat of his government in the occupied West Bank, following the deadly attacks. hospital attack
“Intelligence available to us from several sources indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket attack that hit the Gaza hospital.”
Abbas declared a “public mourning for three days and flags at half-mast.
The local health ministry, run by Hamas, said hundreds of people had been killed.
Images posted on social media showed flames ravaging the wreckage.
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become shelters for hundreds of people after Israel ordered the evacuation of the city and its surrounding areas in anticipation of an expected ground invasion.
The ground invasion is a response to last week’s horrific Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis.
Emergency personnel respond to the scene at Al-Ahli Hospital
An injured man is carried outside Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza
Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said there were still no details about the hospital deaths.
He said: “We will get the details and keep the public informed. I don’t know if it was an Israeli airstrike.
This came after Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday killed dozens of civilians and at least one senior Hamas official.
Meanwhile, Palestinian security forces in Ramallah fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
U.S. officials have tried to convince Israel to allow supplies to be delivered to civilians, humanitarian groups and hospitals in Gaza.
Joe Biden and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands after a statement in Bethlehem last year
However, a senior Israeli official said his country was demanding guarantees that Hamas terrorists would not seize any aid shipments.
The head of Israel’s National Security Council said the arrival of aid also depended on the return of hostages held by Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with regional leaders in recent days.
They told him that the situation following Hamas’s atrocities threatened the stability of the entire Middle East.
Biden will likely hear the same thing when he meets with Jordanian and Egyptian leaders – but not Abbas – in Amman on Wednesday.