Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks on as Prime Minister Yair Lapid bumps fists with U.S. President Joe Biden during a welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

President Joe Biden will make an extraordinary wartime visit to Israel this week as he seeks to demonstrate staunch support for the country as it works to eliminate Hamas while also pressing for ways to ease humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

The duelling objectives, spelt out by his top diplomat Monday evening, bring with them significant risks for the president as he works to prevent the crisis in the Middle East from widening.

Aides said Biden had expressed a strong interest in making the journey after being invited over the weekend by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Biden has known for four decades. He spent Monday deliberating over the trip at the White House with his top national security and intelligence advisers.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was convening a marathon session with top Israeli officials to discuss opening Gaza to humanitarian aid and preventing civilians from getting caught up in Israel’s response to the terror attacks.

In announcing Biden’s Wednesday trip after more than seven hours of negotiations, Blinken said that the United States and Israel “have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza.”

The US president will also travel to Jordan, where he will meet with King Abdullah II, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The top US diplomat in recent days met separately with the three leaders – all of whom have condemned the situation in Gaza.