US President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday, it has been announced. In a statement from the US embassy in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Joe Biden would visit at what is a “critical” moment for Israel, the Middle East and the world.
Blinken made the announcement of Joe Biden’s visit in the early hours of Tuesday morning, as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip worsens and Israel prepares for a possible ground attack on the 141-square-mile territory.
The Secretary of State – who has met with leaders throughout the Middle East in the past week – said President Biden’s visit will “reaffirm” the United States’s solidarity with Israel.
“President Biden will again make clear, as he’s done unequivocally since Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks”, Mr Blinken said.
“The president will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with Congress to meet those needs”, he added.
Antony Blinken said Joe Biden’s visit is also meant to send a “crystal clear” message to those trying to take advantage of the conflict to attack Israel not to.
“To that end, US president Joe Biden has deployed two aircraft carrier groups and other military assets to the region”, Mr Blinken said.
Mr Blinken said the US and Israel had agreed to “develop a plan” to enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organisations to reach civilians in Gaza, including “the possibility” of creating areas to help “keep civilians out of harm’s way”.