Biden calls off Jordan leg of Mideast trip after leader summit canceled

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) hold a joint press conference in Bethlehem, West Bank on July 15, 2022.

Palestinian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will no longer visit Jordan as part of his Middle East trip this week, after a leaders summit on humanitarian aid for Palestinians was abruptly canceled Tuesday.

The decision was made as unrest across the region swelled, in response to the deadly bombing of a hospital in Gaza.

Biden had been scheduled to meet in with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority president Mahmound Abbas after first visiting Israel.

“There is no use in talking now about anything except stopping the war,” Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said on state television.

The bombing of the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City Tuesday killed hundreds of people and escalated the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Biden “sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” a White House official told CNBC.

In deciding not to travel to Jordan, the White House also considered “the days of mourning announced by President Abbas,” for victims of the hospital attack, the official said.

Horrific scenes captured on video showed victims in the aftermath of the bombing, which the Hamas militant group blamed on Israeli airstrikes.

Israel denied that its targeted bombing in Gaza was responsible for destroying the hospital. “A hospital is a highly sensitive building and not an IDF Target. The IDF is currently investigating and as always prioritizes accuracy,” a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense told NBC News.

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Angry protesters amassed in capitals and demanded an end to the Israeli military operation.

Israel’s aerial bombardment campaign over the Gaza Strip is part of what it calls a total siege. This includes cutting off water, food and electricity supplies to a population of two million people.

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza was to be a major focus of Biden’s trip, exemplified by the now canceled summit.

The U.S. has been working with Egypt and Israel to develop humanitarian corridors to help evacuate women and children from the hardest hit areas.

“I’m confident that there’s gonna be an ability for the innocents in Gaza to be able to have access to medicine and food and water,” Biden said on “60 Minutes.”

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