Kamala Harris, not Biden, called king of Jordan to discuss Gaza ceasefire

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Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday spoke to Jordanian King Abdullah II on behalf of President Biden to brief him on US efforts to support a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Biden has not spoken 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 deescalate 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 begin “significant de-escalation.”

Biden on Thursday also made his first call to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi since the violence broke out — amid reports that Hamas and Israel reached their ceasefire deal 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 formerly controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Hamas launched missiles into Israel after clashes in Jerusalem over an Israeli court decision that ordered the eviction of Palestinian tenants who stopped paying rent in East Jerusalem. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza.

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