The White House announced late Monday that President Joe Biden will visit Israel and Jordan on Wednesday amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
The U.S. has sent two aircraft carriers into the region, and Biden has pledged support to Israel and warned other nations to not take advantage of the nation. That message was likely aimed at least in part at Iran, a financial backer of Hamas.
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to Israel on Wednesday, October 18, to demonstrate his steadfast support for Israel in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack and to consult on next steps,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “President Biden will then travel to Amman, Jordan, where he will meet with his Majesty King Abdullah, Egyptian President Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,” Jean-Pierre said. “He will reiterate that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination and discuss the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza.”
Hamas attacked Israeli soldiers and civilians earlier this month, killing more than 1,400 and taking about 200 hostages. Many international visitors were killed as well, including at least 14 Americans.
Israel responded with a series of airstrikes taking out Hamas leaders and positions in Gaza. Israel has warned civilians to flee the northern half of Gaza and is expected to imminently launch a ground invasion. Hamas, which is known to use civilians as shields, has reportedly discouraged that evacuation. Nearly 3,000 Gaza residents are estimated to have been killed so far by Israeli strikes.
While Biden has expressed support for Israel, and the U.S. is expected to financially support the war effort, Biden also said over the weekend that Israeli forces should not occupy Gaza.
“I think it’d be a big mistake,” Biden said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday. “Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people. And I think that…It would be a mistake to…for Israel to occupy…Gaza again.”