Secretary of State Antony Blinken exchanged a warm greeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.
The pair met in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Blinken remained silent when reporters asked whether he was hopeful that aid would begin flowing in the near future, however.
While the U.S. has fully endorsed Israel’s right to defend itself and to retaliate against Hamas terrorists, President Biden’s administration has distinguished between Hamas and the Palestinian people.
Blinken smiled and shook Abbas’ hand as they joked that the U.S. official should buy a house in Amman given how much time he had been spending in the region.
Abbas and Blinken’s meeting comes as Israel is poised to begin a ground invasion of Northern Gaza. The Israeli military has spent nearly a week warning Gaza residents to flee toward the south, though Hamas has sought to obstruct that movement.
Blinken held a similar meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. There, he reiterated America’s support for Israel, but also highlighted the humanitarian situation.
Israel has not set a date for its invasion of Gaza, though it has been delayed from initial plans.
The Biden administration’s push for aid for Palestinians has received some criticism at home. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has argued that the aid will simply fall into the hands of Hamas. Several Republican 2024 presidential candidates have also stated that the U.S. must not accept any refugees from Gaza.
Egypt, Jordan and Gaza’s other Arab neighbors have also refused to accept refugees from the conflict.
Biden is scheduled to travel to Israel personally later Tuesday.