Leaders Cancel Meetings With Biden After Hospital Explosion

President Joe Biden was set to meet with some leaders of the Arab world this week during his trip to the Middle East, but some of them canceled those plans following the bombing at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday.

That blast killed hundreds of people at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, located in Gaza City. Thus far, it isn’t clear what caused the explosion. That being said, both sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas have accused the other of being the cause of it.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Gaza officials have said that the Israel Defense Forces fired a rocket that hit the hospital. The IDF, though, said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists fired a missile that hit the hospital.

Biden was supposed to travel to Jordan on Wednesday to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Majesty King Abdullah II. However, the meeting that was supposed to talk about the “humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza” was canceled after Biden talked with the leaders after the hospital explosion.

In an official statement that was released this week, the White House said of the meeting:

“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President Sisi of Egypt.

“The President sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded. He looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days.”

In a statement of his own, Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the events of the hospital explosion, “and the terrible loss of life that resulted.”

He said that immediately after he heard about the news, he spoke with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. He also ordered the U.S. national security team to gather more information about what happened.

Biden added:

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict, and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy.”
Biden ultimately traveled to Israel on Wednesday, which is an unprecedented visit, considering the country is embroiled in a violent war. The president has continually said that the US. would be steadfast in its support of Israel following the deadly attack by Hammas, which America considers a terrorist organization.

That followed a visit that Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, made to Israel on Monday. While briefing members of the press on Monday, he talked about Biden’s upcoming visit by saying:

“The president will reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and our Ironclad commitment to its security. President Biden will again make clear as he has done unequivocally since Hamas’ slaughter of more than 1,400 people including at least 30 Americans.”