US President, Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday, October 18 putting himself in harm’s way to show that he stands with the country as it prepares a ground invasion meant to wipe out the militant group on its border.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking from Israel, announced the trip to Tel Aviv, the president’s second foray into an active war zone this year after he travelled to Ukraine in February under the tightest secrecy.
In remarks after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken said Biden is coming to “reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security.”
Biden also plans to hear directly from the Israelis about what they need to safeguard their security, Blinken said.
In a statement Monday night, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s trip will “demonstrate his steadfast support for Israel in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack and to consult on next steps.”
Biden is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders during the trip, which will be followed by a stop in neighboring Jordan. There, Biden will meet with regional leaders who are crucial to any effort to protect Palestinian civilians and stabilize the Middle East over the long term, John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesman, told reporters Monday night.
While he is in Amman, Biden will meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
“He will certainly reiterate that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinians’ right to dignity and self-determination,” Kirby said of Biden. “He’ll discuss again the humanitarian needs of all civilians in Gaza.”
U.S. officials have been discussing with Middle East counterparts, including Egypt, ways to get humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza caught up in Israel’s siege of the densely populated territory. Also, Iran has warned it could enter the war if attack by Israel against Gaza continue.
The trip follows an invitation from Netanyahu. Biden and Netanyahu have spoken five times since Hamas launched its attack on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 people in Israel. On Sunday, Biden was also invited to Egypt to take part in a coming international summit meeting devoted to the future of Palestinians, according to a U.S. official.