Oddly enough, the leader of the free world, Joe Biden has not talked with the Arab nation’s leader since Hamas began firing rockets last week from Gaza into Israel following clashes in Jerusalem.
“I spoke with Jordan King Abdullah II to reaffirm our support and express our commitment to continued close cooperation,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “I briefed him on our intensive diplomatic efforts to support the path to a ceasefire in Gaza. The U.S. and Jordan will continue working to de-escalate tensions.”
A White House readout said Harris and Abdullah “discussed the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
It’s unclear why Harris placed the call rather than Biden, who has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at least four times, including on Wednesday to press Israel to immediately establish “significant de-escalation.” Perhaps Biden is way too old and tired to start traveling around the world anymore.
Biden on Thursday also made his first call to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi since the violence erupted — amid reports that Hamas and Israel reached their ceasefire agreement under Egyptian mediation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was put on the defensive at her daily press briefing Thursday when NBC News reporter Kristen Welker asked if Biden’s delay in phoning Sisi may have extended the conflict.
Although Jordan does not border Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is home to millions of Palestinian refugees and previously controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
Hamas propelled missiles into Israel after fights in Jerusalem over an Israeli court decision that ordered the removal of Palestinian tenants who stopped paying rent in East Jerusalem. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza.
Israel and Hamas announced a cease-fire in Gaza on Thursday, aiming to bring to conclusion more than 10 days of devastating hostilities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously approved a “mutual and unconditional” truce brokered by Egypt. Hamas followed suit and said it would accept the agreement.
Hamas and Egypt said the cease-fire would begin at 2 a.m. Friday, local time, which was 7 p.m. Thursday ET.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office hailed “significant achievements” by Israel’s military in the operation, “some of which are unprecedented.”
t warned that “the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the campaign.”
Hamas said the truce would be “mutual and simultaneous.”
“The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed,” Taher Nounou, a Hamas official, told the Associated Press.