Washington, Oct 17 (EFE).- The White House said Tuesday that the cancellation of Joe Biden’s trip to Jordan to discuss the opening of a humanitarian corridor in Gaza was done by consensus, after Mahmoud Abbas wanted to mourn after the bombing of the Gaza hospital.
White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said aboard Air Force One that the decision was agreed upon by both parties.
“… that decision not to go to Amman was made in a mutual way when the (United States) President (Joe Biden) spoke to the King (Abdullah) earlier this afternoon,” Kirby said. “They both agreed that now was not the time to try to throw this meeting on, particularly with, you know, President (Mahmoud) Abbas making it very clear, understandably so, that he wanted to return home for three days of mourning.”
He made the remarks on the plane in which US President Biden heads to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and learn first-hand about the country’s needs to defend itself from Hamas.
Biden continued with this trip despite the attack on a hospital in Gaza, which has left more than 500 dead, whose responsibility remains unclear since Israel accuses the Islamic Jihad organization, while the Palestinians and Arab countries blame the Israeli forces.
Kirby said Biden spoke by phone Tuesday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi – promoter of the opening of a humanitarian corridor at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt – and with Abbas, and that he will speak to them again tomorrow, “on the flight home.”
Biden also spoke Tuesday with Netanyahu, who reiterated “categorically” that Israel is not the author of the bombing, which has shaken the international community and caused protests in numerous cities.
“… The Israelis have categorically and very stridently denied that they had anything to do with it.I think we – we certainly recognize that they feel very strongly that – that this was not caused by them,” he said.
The US government, Kirby said, is gathering “as much information as possible” about what happened.
Biden will land in a few hours in Tel Aviv and he is scheduled to meet first with Netanyahu “in a very small restricted bilateral meeting.” He will then meet with the Israeli war cabinet and with members of the security forces who are responding to Hamas attacks, the spokesman said.
The American president will also meet with families of people killed in the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 and also with relatives of missing people, some of them of those kidnapped as hostages.
After this, he added, Biden will offer a public message and will later meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
One of the objectives of the trip, Kirby said, is to learn about the situation “on the ground” and Israel’s objectives, “its plans, its intentions in the days and weeks to come.”
Biden will ask the war cabinet what its needs are from a security assistance perspective and will make clear that the US will do “everything we can to meet those needs.” EFE