On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden will embark on a critical trip to Israel as it gets ready to intensify its onslaught against Hamas terrorists, which has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and stoked concerns about a wider confrontation with Iran.
After Hamas militants massacred 1,300 people on October 7, the bloodiest day in Israel’s 75-year history, in a rampage across southern Israeli communities, Biden’s visit will be a major demonstration of US solidarity for its biggest Middle East partner.
In response, Israel has strengthened its siege of Gaza, which is run by Hamas, limiting fuel imports among other measures. It has also launched airstrikes into the region, killing thousands of Palestinians and uprooting hundreds of thousands more.
After hours of negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv early on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Biden will travel to Israel. Talking to reporters, he said, “The president will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with Congress to meet those needs.”
According to Blinken, Biden would meet with Netanyahu, restate Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security, and get a thorough briefing on its military objectives and plan. Blinken said that he has decided to work with Netanyahu to create a strategy for delivering supplies to Gaza’s civilian population. He didn’t give specifics. “(The) president will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas,” he added.
According to US national security spokeswoman John Kirby, Biden will visit Israel and then go to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.
Over 2,800 people—nearly 25% of them were children—have died as a result of Israeli assaults on Gaza, according to Gaza officials, while over 10,000 injured individuals are currently receiving life-saving care in hospitals that are severely lacking in supplies.
According to Israeli sources, Hamas not only caused deaths but also kidnapped around 199 hostages into Gaza. The outfit was sponsored by Iran.
Leading Hamas figure Khaled Meshaal stated on Monday that the organisation “has what it needs” to release every Palestinian detained in Israel, suggesting that it may attempt to use the Israelis who have been abducted as negotiating chips.
The group’s armed branch declared in a statement shortly after Meshaal’s comments that the non-Israelis it had captured were “guests” who would be freed “when circumstances allow.”
On Monday, Hamas published a video showing a French-Israeli hostage receiving medical attention for an injury to her arm from an unnamed practitioner. She introduced herself as 21-year-old Mia Schem and requested an expedient return to her family.
The Israeli military claimed to have attacked Islamic Jihad and Hamas military areas throughout the course of the night, including Hamas’ main office and a bank that the organisation utilised. It claimed that one of Hamas’s military personnel had died in the attacks.
Biden’s travel is an unusual and dangerous decision that demonstrates American support for Netanyahu as the United States attempts to prevent a wider regional conflict including Syria, Iran, and its allies Hezbollah in Lebanon. It occurs as Israel is ready to launch a ground invasion in Gaza that is anticipated to exacerbate the enclave’s humanitarian crisis.
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa of Japan, which is now leading the Group of Seven Developed Nations, stated that the country was nearing the completion of setting up a phone conversation with Iran while also announcing $10 million in humanitarian relief for Gaza.
Tehran was not complicit in the Hamas attack on Israel, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who nevertheless praised Israel’s “irreparable” military and intelligence setback.
Israel ordered the evacuation of 28 towns in a zone 1.2 miles (two kilometres) deep near the Lebanese border on Monday, the largest indication yet that the conflict may expand to a new front.
Netanyahu advised Israelis to get ready for a protracted conflict.