President Biden Arrives In Israel Ahead Of High-stakes Meetings With Top Officials

President Joe Biden arrived in Israel early Wednesday morning ahead of a high-stakes meeting with top Israeli officials.

The president was greeted on the tarmac by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, his meetings with Arab leaders were called off after the Gaza Health Ministry reported 500 Palestinian civilians were killed by a rocket that struck a hospital.

Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military said the hospital was hit by a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad, a smaller Palestinian militant group allied to Hamas. There is much confusion over who is to blame for that blast.

“It appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said to Netanyahu about the blast.

Governor Kathy Hochul will also make her way through Israel when she arrives Wednesday.

The governor said her trip is a “solidarity mission” with Israel, and while Biden originally planned to travel to Israel and on to Jordan to meet with both Israeli and Arab leadership, the president’s meeting in Jordan was canceled, according to a U.S. official, who said it was a “mutual decision.”

While the trips somewhat overlap, it is unclear if the two will cross paths in Israel.

Hochul said she is not traveling with other officials to Israel, and declined to reveal any details of her itinerary for security reasons.

Before departing for Israel late Tuesday night, the governor traveled to Washington for a meeting with Biden’s chief of staff Jeff Zients to discuss U.S. support for Israel, as well as the migrant crisis.

“We shared our shared vision for these diplomatic efforts, including standing in solidary with Israel and ensuring they have their resources to protect their citizens, but also doing it in a way that minimalizes civilian casualties and allows the civilians in Gaza to get humanitarian assistance they need, as long as we are certainly not benefiting the Hamas terrorists,” Hochul said.

When asked about New Yorkers “stuck in Israel or Palestine,” the governor said Monday, “We’re aware of some of the people who have been taken hostage. We’re in communication with their families. We are still waiting for a firm number.”

One New York resident has been publicly identified as being held hostage so far. Omer Neutra, a Plainview High School graduate, was taken hostage while serving as an IDF solider.

Hochul has also announced a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors “standing in solidarity with Israel, issuing a joint letter to federal leaders to express the broad support for Israel and condemnation of terror attacks from Hamas.”

New York has the largest percentage of Jews among all the U.S. states; it was home to 21% of the nation’s 7.6 million Jewish people as of 2020, according to the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University.

Mayor Eric Adams says he has no plans to travel to Israel, but fully supports Hochul’s trip and called it, “the right thing to do.”

The mayor says he’s “mourning” the loss of more innocent lives lost following the explosion at Al Ahli Arab Hospital.

“The images we are seeing tonight in Gaza are gut-wrenching, and as we await confirmation of details from our intelligence community on how this terrible tragedy unfolded, everyone must do everything in their power to prevent any further killing of innocent civilians,” he said in a statement.




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