Biden will journey to Israel on Wednesday as struggle drags into its second week

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base, in New Castle, Delaware, U.S., April 25, 2022. 

Tasos Katopodis | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday in an effort to mitigate the expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has made two trips to Israel since the war broke out on Oct. 7, announced Biden’s upcoming visit during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“President Biden will again make clear, as he has done unequivocally since Hamas slaughter of more than 1400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend his people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks,” Blinken said following a nearly eight-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Read live updates of the Israel-Hamas conflict

Blinken said Biden will also work to establish a plan for the safe passage of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The United Nations said that none of its agencies have been able to bring water, food, medical equipment or fuel into Gaza since the war broke out.

“This has become hell,” Juliette Touma, Director of Communications for the United Nations Relief Works Agency, told reporters on a call. “The messages that we’re getting is get us out of this hellhole,” Touma added.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call Monday evening that Biden’s travel to Israel was thoroughly evaluated, adding that the “security situation is certainly tense.”

Earlier in the day, Blinken was forced to retreat to a bunker twice while meeting with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv due to air raid sirens. Over the weekend, a U.S. congressional delegation also sheltered in place.

Kirby said Biden will also travel to Amman, Jordan on Wednesday where he will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisiand and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

While in Jordan, Kirby said Biden will discuss regional security, the release of hostages held by Hamas and humanitarian needs for the people in Gaza.

“We certainly want to see that humanitarian assistance begin to flow as soon as possible,” Kirby said.

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