What you need to know about Biden’s wartime trip to Israel

President Biden is conducting a war-time visit to Israel, although part of his planned trip has been cancelled due to an explosion at a Gaza hospital that resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Schedule change: Biden was set to meet with leaders in Jordan to discuss humanitarian aid to Gaza, but this part of his trip was called off after the major explosion.
* Biden was scheduled to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
* The explosion happened at a Gaza hospital, causing mass casualties. Responsibility for the explosion is disputed, with Palestinian authorities blaming Israel, and Israel attributing it to a Palestinian militant group.
* Abbas cancelled his meeting with Biden following the explosion, declaring three days of mourning.

Biden’s main goals: In his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Biden aims to get an update on military strategies and plans.
* He is expected to ask about the Israelis’ plans for a ground offensive in Gaza.
* Biden also wants more information about efforts to locate and free hostages taken during the attacks, some of whom are believed to be American citizens.

Humanitarian concerns: Biden’s team has been urging Israel and Egypt to allow provisioning of basic needs to Gaza and permit civilians to leave.
* Gaza is running out of food, water, and medical supplies. Hospitals are under-supplied and are struggling to treat the thousands of injured, many of whom are children.
* The Rafah crossing is effectively the only option for Palestinians to leave Gaza or to receive any aid. However, reported bombing in the Rafah crossing region is compromising the roads and the possible distribution of aid.

Security risks involved: The White house has given less public information about the trip due to the risks involved with traveling to the region under the current circumstance.
* During Secretary Blinken’s visit to Tel Aviv, sirens went off as a warning of new rocket attacks and he was moved to a bunker for some time.
* Biden has visited war zones before, including a trip to Ukraine earlier this year. However, Kirby has stated that Tel Aviv is not being targeted in the same way as Kyiv was during Biden’s trip.

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