Joe Biden’s Upcoming Visit to Israel Marks a Pivotal Moment This Week
U.S. President Joe Biden is embarking on a crucial diplomatic mission this week, with scheduled visits to Israel and Jordan. During this visit, he will meet with key leaders from Israel and the Arab region. This mission comes at a time when the United Nations has termed the situation in Gaza an “unprecedented human catastrophe.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recently engaged in extensive discussions with Israeli officials, confirmed in a press conference that President Biden will travel to Tel Aviv to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Blinken emphasized the significance of this visit, stating that it occurs at a “critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world.”
The visit is prompted by the recent deadly attacks on Israel by the Hamas militant group on October 7, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,400 lives, predominantly civilians. In response, Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza, and Israeli Defense Force airstrikes are believed to have caused casualties among Palestinians, with around 2,670 reported deaths and nearly 10,000 injuries.
During his visit, President Biden’s primary objectives include reaffirming solidarity with Israel and the commitment to its security. Israel is preparing for a comprehensive assault on the Gaza Strip and its 2.3 million inhabitants, and the President’s visit is intended to demonstrate unwavering support in the face of Hamas’s recent terrorist attacks.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, stated that the visit will underscore the President’s support for Israel and serve as a platform to discuss next steps in response to Hamas’s actions.
President Biden will also use the visit to coordinate efforts with Israel to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas. Approximately 200 people, including some American citizens, are believed to be held captive in Gaza.
Another key agenda item for the visit is to receive a comprehensive briefing on Israel’s war aims and strategy. The discussions will also cover minimizing civilian casualties and facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, ensuring it doesn’t benefit Hamas.
The U.S. government has requested Israel’s cooperation in delivering critical aid to Gaza’s population. As the impending invasion approaches, over half a million Palestinians have fled the northern region of Gaza to the south, where essential supplies such as fuel, food, and water are in short supply.
The visit by President Biden to an active war zone carries inherent risks. It was evident when Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Netanyahu briefly sought shelter in a bunker during an air raid siren in Tel Aviv.
Additionally, President Biden’s itinerary includes a visit to Amman, Jordan, where he is scheduled to meet with Arab leaders, including King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The visit to Jordan will primarily focus on addressing the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza and conveying a message that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination.
Hours after announcing President Biden’s trip, U.S. Central Command revealed that Army General Michael “Erik” Kurilla had landed in Tel Aviv. General Kurilla, the top military commander in the Middle East, will hold high-level meetings with Israel’s military leadership to ensure Israel has the necessary support to defend itself while working to prevent the conflict from escalating further.