Jordan has cancelled a summit it was scheduled to host in Amman on Wednesday with United States President Joe Biden and the Egyptian and Palestinian leaders to discuss Gaza, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has said.
Safadi said the meeting would be held at a time when the parties could agree to end the “war and the massacres against Palestinians”, blaming Israel with its military campaign for pushing the region to “the brink of the abyss”.
Biden was expected to make a whirlwind trip to Israel where he would later head to Jordan and, according to Jordanian officials, meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The US president now will visit only Israel and postpone his travel to Jordan, a White House official said as Biden departed on Tuesday.
Jordan’s King Abdullah would have hosted the four-way summit, which would have on its agenda the need to get humanitarian assistance to Gaza to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and tamper the conflict with Israel.
Abdullah has blamed Israel for a blast at a Gaza hospital that killed about 500 Palestinians on Tuesday, saying it was a “shame on humanity” and called on Israel to immediately end its military assault on Gaza.
Palestinian officials say the explosion was caused by an Israeli air raid. Israeli officials have said the blast was caused when a rocket launched by a Palestinian armed group misfired. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the claims.
King Abdullah warned that Israel’s response following a deadly cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed and injured more than 1,000 Israelis went beyond the right of self-defence to collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
The cancellation reflects an increasingly volatile situation that will test the limits of US influence in the region as Biden visits Israel on Wednesday.
Failure to meet with Abbas or any Palestinian official, while meeting Israelis on their soil, could undermine Biden’s diplomatic message and draw criticism at home and abroad.
After the hospital blast, Biden’s efforts in the Israel-Hamas war were criticised by US Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress.
Tlaib, a Democrat who had previously been muted in her criticism of Biden’s policy, said in a post on social media platform X, “This is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate. Your war and destruction only approach has opened my eyes and many Palestinian Americans and Muslims Americans like me.”
More than 70 religious and activist groups, led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest US Muslim civil rights group, called on Biden to demand a ceasefire in Gaza during his visit.