Jordan’s King Abdullah participated in an airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza, in a move highlighting his kingdom’s role in pushing Israel to stop restricting efforts to help fend off illness, hunger and starvation in the war-torn enclave, officials said on Sunday.
A video released by state-owned Al Mamlaka showed the monarch in military gear on board a plane in the latest mission by the Jordanian Air Force to drop urgent medical supplies to field hospitals it runs in the enclave. According to official media, the latest airdrop was on Tuesday.
It has conducted 11 airdrops, with at least two conducted with the French and Dutch air forces, to deliver medical aid.
Princess Salma, Abdullah’s second daughter and an air force pilot, participated in an airdrop in December.
The king, who has been vocal in calling for an end to Israel’s campaign, on Thursday left on a tour of major Western capitals and is due to meet U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on Monday to lobby for an immediate ceasefire.
Abdullah will prod Washington to pressure Israel to lift hurdles on delivering more aid to Palestinians, saying the obstacles were worsening the plight of over 2 million inhabitants of the enclave facing growing risk of famine, officials said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken during a visit to Amman last month commended Jordan’s “role and leadership in providing life-saving aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
Jordan succeeded in getting Israel to allow the World Food Programme (WFP) to send deliveries to Gaza through another land route that begins from Jordan, helping ease pressure on the main Rafah border crossing that is limited in capacity.
Jordan, which shares a border with the West Bank, fears that the Gaza conflict could spread, with wider violence by armed settlers encouraged by the army triggering a large-scale Palestinian exodus to the other side of the Jordan River.