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As Gaza Ceasefire Hopes Fade, All Eyes On Biden, King Abdullah Meeting


President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House on Monday, at a time when the likelihood of a ceasefire in Gaza looks unlikely. The deadlock continues as Hamas and Israeli officials blame each other. On Sunday, Hamas reiterated their condition to end the war in return for releasing hostages, a demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly rejected. Additionally, an attack by Hamas on the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza resulted in the death of three Israeli soldiers, according to Israeli reports.

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 Rafah.

Biden last met King Abdullah at the White House in February and the two longtime allies discussed a daunting list of challenges, including a looming Israeli ground offensive in southern Gaza and the threat of a humanitarian calamity among 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. The war began after Hamas stunned Israel with a cross-border raid on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 252 hostages taken, according to Israeli tallies.

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Biden last spoke to Netanyahu on April 28 and “reiterated his clear position” on a possible invasion of the Gaza border city 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.

(With Inputs From Reuters)