Biden meets Jordan's King Abdullah as Gaza ceasefire hopes dim

Biden meets Jordan's King Abdullah as Gaza ceasefire hopes dim
Jordan's monarch will meet the US president at the White House on Monday to discuss recent developments in Gaza as Israel attacks Rafah.
2 min read
Biden last met King Abdullah at the White House in February, as seen above [Getty]

US President Joe Biden will meet Middle East ally, Jordan's King Abdullah II, at the White House on Monday with prospects for a Gaza ceasefire appearing slim.

On Sunday, Hamas reiterated its demand for an end to the war in exchange for the freeing of hostages, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flatly ruled that out. Hamas also attacked the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza that Israel says has killed four of its soldiers.

A Jordanian diplomat told Reuters Monday's meeting between Biden and King Abdullah is not a formal bilateral meeting but an informal private meeting.

It comes as the Biden administration and Israeli officials remain at odds over Israel's planned military incursion in the southern Gaza city of Rafah where it told Palestinians to start evacuating some parts on Monday, and where Israeli airstrikes killed at least 20 overnight.

Biden last met King Abdullah at the White House in February and the two longtime allies discussed a daunting list of challenges, including the looming Israeli ground offensive in southern Gaza and suffering of Palestinian civilians.

Jordan and other Arab states have been highly critical of Israel's actions and have been demanding a ceasefire since mid-October as civilian casualties began to skyrocket.

More than 34,700 Palestinians have been killed and more than 78,000 wounded in Israel's biggest ever war on the enclave, according to Gaza's health ministry. Most of the casualties have been women and children.

Biden last spoke to Netanyahu on April 28 and "reiterated his clear position" on a possible invasion of Rafah, the White House said. The U.S. president has been vocal in his demand that Israel not undertake a ground offensive in Rafah without a plan to protect Palestinian civilians.

With pro-Palestinian protests erupting across U.S. college campuses, Biden faces increasing pressure politically to convince Israel to hold off on an invasion. Biden addressed the campus unrest over the war in Gaza last week but said the campus protests had not forced him to reconsider his policies in the Middle East.