Jordan’s King Abdullah joins humanitarian aid mission to Gaza

Jordan’s King Abdullah took part in an airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza, showing his kingdom’s support for the Palestinian people and urging Israel to ease the blockade on the besieged enclave.

The king, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Jordanian armed forces, wore a military uniform and boarded a plane that carried urgent medical supplies to the field hospitals run by Jordan in Gaza. The airdrop was part of a series of missions by the Jordanian air force to deliver aid to the Palestinians, who have been suffering from the aftermath of the Israeli aggression that killed over 250 people and injured thousands more in May 2023.

A video released by the state-owned Al Mamlaka broadcaster showed the king overseeing the preparations and the loading of the cargo, as well as greeting the pilots and the crew. The video also showed the king waving to the people of Gaza from the plane’s window, as they cheered and waved back.

The king was not the only member of the royal family to participate in the aid missions. Princess Salma, the king’s second daughter and an air force pilot, joined an airdrop in December 2023, making her the first female pilot in the region to fly a humanitarian mission.

A diplomatic push for peace

The king’s involvement in the aid airdrop was also a symbolic gesture of his diplomatic efforts to end the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, and to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region. The king, who is the custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, has been vocal in condemning the Israeli violations of the rights and dignity of the Palestinians, and in calling for an immediate ceasefire and a resumption of the negotiations based on the two-state solution.

The king, who left on a tour of major Western capitals on Thursday, is due to meet U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on Monday, where he will lobby for more pressure on Israel to lift the hurdles on delivering more aid to Gaza, and to stop the expansion of the illegal settlements and the forced evictions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. The king will also discuss the regional and international issues of mutual interest with the U.S. leader, and reaffirm the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The king’s visit to the U.S. comes after he met with several European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and discussed the ways to support the Palestinian cause and to revive the peace process.

A humanitarian role model

Jordan, which hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the world, has been playing a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and assistance to the people of Gaza, who have been living under a crippling Israeli blockade for over 14 years. Jordan has established several field hospitals in Gaza, and has sent medical teams, medicines, equipment, and ambulances to treat the wounded and the sick. Jordan has also coordinated with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other international organizations to send food, water, and other essential items to Gaza through a land route that starts from Jordan.

Jordan’s humanitarian role has been praised by many countries and institutions, including the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations, and the Arab League. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who visited Amman in May 2023, commended Jordan’s “role and leadership in providing life-saving aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

Jordan, which shares a border with the West Bank, fears that the Gaza conflict could spread, and that the violence by the Israeli settlers and the army could trigger a large-scale Palestinian exodus to the other side of the Jordan River. Jordan has been calling for the international community to intervene and to protect the Palestinians from the Israeli aggression and oppression.

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