Palestinian president cancels meeting with Biden after Israel strikes Gaza hospital killing 500

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has cancelled his planned meeting with United States President Joe Biden after a strike on a Gazan hospital, international media reported on Wednesday.

At least 500 were killed in an explosion at al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in an air strike by Israel and scores of others were injured.

President Abbas announced a period of three days for mourning in response to the bombing incident. Meanwhile, the secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hussein al-Sheikh, revealed that the Palestinian leader had hastened back to the West Bank for an urgent leadership meeting.

Initially, there were plans for US President Biden to hold discussions with President Abbas either on Wednesday night or Thursday in Jordan, following his visit to Israel. However, Jordan, the intended host for both leaders, has confirmed its withdrawal from the scheduled meeting.

Expressing a strong stance, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi emphasized the urgent need to focus solely on ceasing the ongoing war.

While Reuters reported the cancellation of the meeting, there has been no official confirmation from either party regarding this development.

According to a senior Palestinian official, as quoted by Reuters, the President’s immediate return to Ramallah was triggered by the distressing news of the Israeli attack at the hospital in Gaza. Despite these events, American officials have not yet confirmed the cancellation as of Wednesday, and President Biden proceeded with his trip to the region, departing on Air Force One from Maryland, USA, shortly before 6 pm on Tuesday, local time.

While the main purpose of the visit was to express support for Israel, analysts are concerned that the failure to meet with President Abbas or any Palestinian leaders could potentially undermine President Biden’s broader objective of fostering peace and de-escalating tensions.

President Biden was expected to arrive in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before heading to Amman for discussions with King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and President Abbas.

Following the strike on al-Ahli Hospital, Jordan’s King condemned the attack as a “massacre” and a “war crime,” urging Israel to immediately halt its military operations in Gaza.

Click to comment
To Top