Biden to Visit Israel, Jordan on Wednesday

Blinken announces trip to Israel after overnight meeting with Netanyahu
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2023 7:59 PM CDT
Biden to Travel to Israel and Jordan on Wednesday
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Tel Aviv early Tuesday after an overnight meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

President Biden has decided to go to Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced. Blinken made the disclosure early Tuesday after meeting for 7½ hours with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had invited the president but apparently hadn't received an answer, and his war Cabinet at a military base in Tel Aviv, the New York Times reports. "He's coming here at a critical moment for Israel," Blinken said, adding that "the president will reaffirm the United States solidarity with Israel." After that stop, Biden will go to Jordan.

John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesman, said Monday night that Biden will meet with King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan. Biden has expressed concerns that the war will widen to other nations in the region and about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. "We've been crystal clear about the need for humanitarian aid to be able to continue to flow into Gaza," Kirby said. The president also cautioned Israel in an interview aired Sunday that occupying Gaza would be "a big mistake."

In Israel, Biden will be given a full briefing on the government's military goals and strategy for wiping out Hamas in response to its broad-scale terrorist attack on Oct. 7, per the Washington Post. Not only is the trip a political and diplomatic gamble—tying the US to Israel more tightly while much of the world decries conditions in Gaza, per the Times—but traveling to a country at war will bring major logistical and security issues. (More President Biden stories.)

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