Biden Will Head to Israel and Jordan as Considerations Mount That Israel-Hamas Battle Will Unfold
Palestinians acquire water from a water faucet, amid ingesting water shortages, in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct, 15, 2023. Israel minimize off water to Gaza after a Hamas assault final week killed 1,300 individuals and Israel’s retaliatory strikes killed greater than 2,300 Palestinians. (AP Photograph/Fatima Shbair)
By Matthew Lee, Colleen Lengthy and Aamer Madhani
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced Biden’s journey to Israel because the humanitarian state of affairs within the Gaza Strip grows extra dire and as Israel prepares for a attainable floor assault on the 141-square-mile (365-square-kilometer) territory to root out Hamas militants liable for what U.S. and Israeli officers say was probably the most deadly assault towards Jews for the reason that Holocaust.
It is an opportunity for Biden to burnish his nationwide safety credentials to U.S. voters with the 2024 election simply over a yr away. It is also a possibility to display that he is making good on his marketing campaign promise of exercising American management after 4 years of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” international coverage.
Blinken made the announcement early Tuesday after greater than seven hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and different prime Israeli officers.
“He’s coming right here at a important second for Israel, for the area and for the world,” Blinken mentioned.
Blinken added that Biden might be briefed by Israeli officers on their struggle goals and technique and would hear about how they intend to conduct operations “in a method that minimizes civilian casualties and permits humanitarian help to stream to civilians in Gaza in a method that doesn’t profit Hamas.”
Shortly after in Washington, White Home Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby introduced that Biden would additionally go to Jordan to satisfy with King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We’ve been crystal clear in regards to the want for humanitarian assist to have the ability to proceed to stream into Gaza,” Kirby mentioned. “That has been a constant name by President Biden and positively by this complete administration.”
Biden spoke by telephone with Egypt’s el-Sissi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in regards to the fallout from Hamas militants’ shock assaults on Israel that left 1,400 lifeless and retaliatory strikes which have killed at the least 2,778 Palestinians.
Biden’s name with the Egyptian chief got here in the future after el-Sissi met with Blinken in Cairo. Egypt’s state-run media mentioned el-Sissi informed Blinken that Israel’s Gaza operation has exceeded “the appropriate of self-defense” and became “a collective punishment.”
Kirby declined to touch upon el-Sissi’s issues about how Israel is conducting the struggle.
“The humanitarian state of affairs was excessive on the listing of the dialogue with President el-Sissi,” Kirby mentioned.
Iran’s international minister warned Monday that “preemptive motion is feasible” if Israel strikes nearer to its looming floor offensive within the Gaza Strip.
Iran is a chief monetary sponsor of Hamas militants in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The feedback by Hossein Amirabdollahian observe a sample of escalating rhetoric from Iran.
“Leaders of the resistance won’t enable the Zionist regime to do no matter it desires in Gaza after which go after different resistance teams after it’s finished with Gaza,” he informed state tv. “Due to this fact any preemptive motion is feasible within the coming hours.”
Kirby mentioned the U.S. has not seen any indicators that Iran would possibly attempt to get instantly concerned within the Israel-Hamas battle.
White Home officers have mentioned that U.S. intelligence reveals that Iran has been broadly conscious that Hamas had been getting ready for a attainable strike towards Israel. However the U.S. says it has but to uncover proof of direct Iranian involvement within the Oct. 7 assault.
Israel can also be getting ready for the potential of a brand new entrance opening on its northern border with Lebanon, the place it has exchanged hearth repeatedly with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group. The army ordered residents of 28 Israeli communities close to the border to evacuate.
Air raid sirens interrupted Blinken’s conferences with Israeli officers on three totally different events Monday, together with twice as he huddled with Netanyahu and his struggle cupboard.
In Washington, Biden was briefed within the Oval Workplace by his nationwide safety workforce on the state of affairs on the bottom in Israel and Gaza. White Home chief of workers Jeff Zients joined the briefing led by nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of Nationwide Intelligence Avril Haines and Central Intelligence Company Director Invoice Burns, in keeping with the White Home.
Blinken, in talks Monday with Netanyahu and different Israeli officers, carried again a few of the suggestions he acquired from Arab leaders. He additionally “underlined his agency assist for Israel’s proper to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. willpower to offer the Israeli authorities with what it wants to guard its residents,” State Division spokesman Matthew Miller mentioned in a press release.
White Home officers mentioned Biden’s talks with Arab leaders in Amman will largely deal with humanitarian issues for Gaza’s 2.3 million individuals. He’ll additionally clarify that Hamas doesn’t stand for the Palestinian individuals’s proper to dignity and self-determination.
Nonetheless, White Home officers bristled about whether or not Biden would ask Netanyahu and Israel officers to point out restraint or set any circumstances on any new U.S. army assist that may very well be within the pipeline.
“We’re not placing circumstances on the army help that we’re offering to Israel,” Kirby mentioned. “They’ve a proper to defend themselves. They’ve a proper to go after this terrorist risk.”
Lengthy and Madhani reported from Washington. AP writers Jon Gambrell in Jerusalem and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed.
Up to date October 17, 2023 at 11:23 a.m. ET with newest particulars.