Jordan explains cancelation of Biden-led summit
Jordan has canceled a summit involving US President Joe Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following a missile strike on a hospital in Gaza.
Tuesday's bombing claimed the lives of at least 500 people, and has been blamed by Palestinians on Israel, which in turn has accused Gaza militants of striking the facility with a misfired rocket.
“We decided not to hold the four-way summit in Amman because Washington will not be able to make a decision to stop the war [between Hamas and Israel],” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on said in a statement carried by Al Jazeera.
He explained that the move was made in consultation with the US, Palestinian Authority, and Egypt, whose leader, Abdel Fattah as-Sisi, was also set to participate in the meeting on Wednesday. “The bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital is a heinous war crime that cannot be tolerated,” the Jordanian diplomat said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Abbas decided to cut short his trip to Jordan and “immediately return to the homeland,” according to a statement on his Facebook page. The leader will chair an urgent meeting in the wake of “the great tragedy that befell on the Palestinian people after the Israeli occupation government committed a massacre at the hospital,” the statement read.
The White House later confirmed that Biden would no longer visit Jordan and only travel to Israel on Wednesday. “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,” a spokesperson said, adding that Biden was sending condolences “for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza.”
Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli air strike for the hospital's destruction on Tuesday, an allegation that was quickly backed by several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Türkiye.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), meanwhile, claimed that the facility was destroyed by a rocket launched by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The projectile was fired at Israeli territory but had veered off course, the IDF said. “It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X (formerly Twitter).