Heightened tensions in the region have led to the cancellation of a Middle East summit this week.
President Joe Biden left for a trip to Israel on Tuesday and planned to meet with several Islamic leaders after leaving Tel Aviv. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was the first to announce he would not be attending the summit.
Biden, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called off the meeting entirely in the wake of a deadly blast at a hospital in Gaza.
“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 statement from the White House revealed.
President Joe Biden is traveling to Israel to visit the warzone and show support to America's closest ally in the Middle East. The president planned to attend a four-way summit with Arab leaders, but Jordan canceled the meeting following the deadly hospital explosion. pic.twitter.com/UsOYk5lQRI
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 17, 2023
In a statement on the matter, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi confirmed that the meeting would be rescheduled when everyone involved agreed to end the “war and the massacres against Palestinians,” going on to point the finger at Israel for the latest attack and bringing the Middle East to “the brink of the abyss.”
Israel has firmly denied any involvement in the deadly hospital blast, however, presenting its own evidence that it was inadvertently caused by a misfired rocket from Palestinian terrorists.
According to a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “barbaric terrorists in Gaza” were responsible for the carnage at the hospital, not, as Hamas and others have claimed, the Israeli Defense Forces.
“The facts on the ground, what we can report, the Israelis have provided both drone evidence, they’ve provided images, videos and they have provided intercepted phone calls to indicate this was an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired,” said Fox News Channel correspondent Trey Yingst.
Nevertheless, the blast has been used as fodder for growing anti-Israel protests throughout the region. In addition to official statements condemning Israel from nations including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, pro-Palestine demonstrators have taken to the streets in these and other Middle Eastern countries in recent days.