Jordan has decided to cancel a planned summit involving US President Joe Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following a tragic missile strike on a hospital in Gaza. The bombing, which occurred on Tuesday and claimed the lives of at least 500 people, has been attributed to Israel by Palestinians, while Israel has accused Gaza militants of launching a misfired rocket that struck the facility. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced the cancellation, stating that the United States would not be able to make a decision to halt the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. The decision was made in consultation with the US, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt, whose leader, Abdel Fattah as-Sisi, was also slated to participate in the summit.
“The bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital is a heinous war crime that cannot be tolerated,” Safadi stated, denouncing the attack. The cancellation of the summit reflects the outrage and condemnation of the international community towards the escalating violence in the region.
Earlier on Tuesday, Abbas decided to cut short his visit to Jordan and return immediately to Palestine in response to “the great tragedy that befell the Palestinian people after the Israeli occupation government committed a massacre at the hospital,” as stated in a Facebook post. The Palestinian leader intends to chair an urgent meeting to address the situation.
The White House later confirmed that President Biden would no longer travel to Jordan, instead focusing his visit on Israel, which is scheduled for Wednesday. A spokesperson for the White House expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza and emphasized the decision to postpone the meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and President Abbas, as well as President Sisi of Egypt, in light of the mourning days announced by President Abbas.
Palestinian officials promptly blamed an Israeli airstrike for the destruction of the hospital, a claim that received swift support from several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In contrast, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) asserted that the facility was destroyed by a rocket fired by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The IDF claimed that the rocket was initially targeted at Israeli territory but veered off course. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also denied Israeli involvement, stating that it was “barbaric terrorists in Gaza” who attacked the hospital.
The cancellation of the summit highlights the growing international concern and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The tragic bombing of the hospital further underscores the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, with the international community denouncing the loss of innocent lives and calling for accountability for the perpetrators of such violence. The decision to cancel the summit also reflects the limited ability of the United States to single-handedly halt the war, highlighting the complexity and deep-rooted nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.