U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base, in New Castle, Delaware, U.S., April 25, 2022.
Tasos Katopodis | Reuters
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday in an effort to mitigate the expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has made two trips to Israel since the war broke out on Oct. 7, announced Biden’s upcoming visit during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
“President Biden will again make clear, as he has done unequivocally since Hamas slaughter of more than 1400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend his people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks,” Blinken said following a nearly eight-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Blinken said Biden will also work to establish a plan for the safe passage of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call that Biden’s travel to Israel was thoroughly evaluated for security risks, adding that the “security situation is certainly tense.”
Earlier in the day, Blinken was forced to retreat to a bunker twice while meeting with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv due to air raid sirens. Over the weekend, a U.S. congressional delegation also sheltered in place.
“We’ve sent a message loud and clear that we don’t want to see escalation. We don’t want to see this conflict widen. We don’t want to see any other actor and that includes Iran jumping in here and escalating this conflict,” Kirby said.
Kirby said Biden will also travel to Amman, Jordan where he will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisiand and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
While in Jordan, Kirby said Biden will discuss regional security and humanitarian needs for the people in Gaza.
“We certainly want to see that humanitarian assistance begin to flow as soon as possible,” Kirby said.