According to Politico, US President Joe Biden has received an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Israel as a gesture of support. However, White House officials have expressed concern for Biden’s safety during such a trip, particularly given the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Hamas militants. The potential visit could be seen as a significant moment in Biden’s presidency, similar to his unannounced visit to Kiev in February.
During his visit to Kiev, Biden’s trip was preceded by communication from the US to Russia, urging them not to interfere with his travel plans. Despite the blaring sirens that accompanied Biden’s arrival, there was no sign of a Russian missile attack at that time, as confirmed by Western reporters. However, in the case of a visit to Israel, the situation could be different. According to an anonymous US official cited by Politico, there is concern that Hamas, a designated terrorist organization by the United States, may take a provocative strike against a traveling president.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated tensions in the region. Last week, several US lawmakers visiting Israel had to seek shelter in a bomb shelter when an air raid siren sounded. In response to Hamas’ surprise incursion from Gaza, the Biden administration has pledged its full support to Israel. The raid led to the deaths of over 1,300 Israelis and the capture of numerous hostages. The Israeli government, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, has declared war on Hamas, with the military announcing plans for a significant ground operation. Civilians in Gaza have been ordered to evacuate the northern part of the blockaded territory.
Despite the ongoing conflict, Biden remains confident in Israel’s ability to minimize civilian casualties while targeting Hamas. The US has reportedly reached out to Qatar for mediation in securing the release of civilians among the hostages, some of whom hold American citizenship.
Russia has condemned the violence against civilians from both sides in the conflict. President Vladimir Putin specifically criticized Hamas for its barbaric actions. Moscow argues that the current escalation is a result of Washington’s biased approach to the Middle East peace process and its attempts to monopolize it. Russia has called for earnest negotiations on creating a Palestinian state once the situation has calmed down.
In conclusion, while President Biden considers accepting an invitation to visit Israel as a gesture of support, concerns for his safety have been raised by White House officials. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas adds additional complexity to the potential trip. This invitation, if accepted, could become a defining moment in Biden’s presidency, reminiscent of his unannounced visit to Kiev earlier this year. The US government is closely monitoring the situation and taking precautions to ensure Biden’s safety if he decides to proceed with the visit.