A massive explosion at a hospital in Gaza has derailed US diplomatic efforts to mobilize support for “Israel’s right to defend itself”, calling off a summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and other leaders in Amman, Jordan.
Hundreds of people are feared dead after a deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza, with Hamas and Israel holding each other responsible for the incident.
Biden will arrive in Israel today for a solidarity visit to express his support for Israel.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced that Biden’s summit in Amman, which was to take place on Wednesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has been canceled.
Biden supports Israeli calls to eliminate Hamas after Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel, which killed more than 1,300 people and took between 200 and 250 Israelis as hostages to Gaza.
Hamas quickly blamed an Israeli airstrike for causing the explosion at Gaza City’s Al Ahli hospital on Tuesday, but Israel vehemently denied the accusations, insisting that a misfired rocket from the Islamist faction caused the explosion.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, widely considered the faction’s overall leader, surprisingly blamed the US for the attack, insisting that Washington gave Israel “cover for its aggression.”
“The hospital massacre confirms the brutality of the enemy and the extent of his sense of defeat,” Haniyeh said in a televised address.
He called on the entire Palestinian people “to come out and confront the occupation and the settlers” and all Arabs and Muslims to protest against Israel.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey also accused Israel of bombing the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held “barbaric terrorists in Gaza” responsible for the deaths.
“So the whole world knows: the barbaric terrorists in Gaza are the ones who attacked the Gaza hospital, and not the IDF (Israel Defense Forces),” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“Those who brutally murdered our children also murdered their children,” he stressed.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog subsequently described Hamas’s accusations as “blood libel.”
An Islamic Jihad rocket killed many Palestinians in a hospital in Gaza – a place where lives should be saved,” Herzog said in a tweet.
Islamic Jihad has denied the allegations.
“Shame on the media that swallows the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad – broadcasting a 21st century blood libel around the world. Shame on the evil terrorists in Gaza who are deliberately shedding the blood of innocents,” the Israeli president wrote.
“Never before has the choice been clearer. Israel faces an enemy of pure evil. When you stand up for humanity – for the value of all human life – you stand with Israel,” he emphasized as tensions continue to rise in the region. further intensify after the fatal incident.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said that an analysis of the IDF’s operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing close to Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza at the time. that it was hit.
“Intelligence from multiple sources we have indicated that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital in Gaza,” the report said.
Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Netanyahu who supported his government’s position, said: “We know that at the time of this tragedy in Gaza there was a huge barrage against targets in central Israel. We had the siren here in Tel Aviv, and I went to a bomb shelter.” “We know they fired rockets at the same time. Hamas made a statement that they sent a long-range rocket to Haifa. [northern Israel] at the moment,” Regev emphasizes.
‘Now not a single missile has actually reached Haifa. Where did that rocket go? Where did he land?’ he asked.
Regev also noted that based on past Israeli conflicts with Gaza factions, approximately 33 percent of their rockets are known to fail and end up in Gaza.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, a senior Palestinian official said Abbas had canceled his participation in the meeting with Biden following huge spontaneous protests in the West Bank after news of the explosion emerged.
Palestinian Authority security forces had to use force to suppress the protests. Until now, the West Bank has been relatively quiet amid escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
The UAE and Russia have called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday following the hospital blast.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)