Biden cancels trip to Jordan amid questions over bombed hospital

October 18, 2023

President Biden has canceled a trip to Jordan following his visit to Israel amid questions over an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City that killed hundreds of people.

“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President [Mahmoud] Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President of Egypt,” the White House said in a statement.

The massive blast at the hospital led to blame-trading. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants, members of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad. 

As of 10am ET Wednesday, multiple news outlets were quoting sources who said an independent U.S. assessment pointed to a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket having hit the Gaza hospital. 

“I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted. Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened,” Biden wrote in a tweet pinned on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday evening.

He 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.”

After arriving in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Biden said that the attack on the hospital appeared to have been perpetrated by “the other team.” When asked by reporters what brought him to that conclusion, Biden answered that he was citing “the data I was shown by my Defense Department.”

During a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said, “I wanted the people of Israel—the people of the world— to know where the United States stands….The world is looking. Israel has a value set like the United States does, and other democracies. And they’re looking to see what we’re going to do.”

Netanyahu appeared to try to turn the narrative, pointing his finger at Hamas for “all civilian casualties”—including the attack on the hospital. “Every day they perpetrate a double war crime, targeting our civilians while hiding behind their civilians,” he said.

Britain’s intelligence services have also been analyzing the evidence to establish independently the cause of the hospital blast in Gaza. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Parliament on Wednesday, “We should not rush to judgment before we have all the facts.”

PHOTO: Biden’s arrival in Israel Wednesday

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