Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is scheduled to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Capitol on Tuesday, marking the first visit from a foreign leader during the California Republican’s Speakership.
Abdullah’s trip to Capitol Hill comes as tensions ratchet up in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. An Israeli raid on a camp in the occupied West Bank led to the deaths of 10 residents on Thursday, the majority of whom were gunmen, according to Reuters. One day later, at least seven people were fatally shot near a synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday, when worshippers were observing Shabbat.
The casualties came amid a tension-filled month — and year — among Israelis and Palestinians. Last year marked the one of the deadliest for fatal fighting between Israel and Palestine.
Abdullah hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — with whom he’s had a rocky relationship — for a surprise visit last week, before the latest round of gunfire, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on a three-day trip to the Middle East on Sunday that will include stops in Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. During the swing, he is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“With both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Secretary will underscore the urgent need for the parties to take steps to deescalate tensions in order to put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives,” the State Department wrote on its website.
McCarthy’s meeting with Abdullah will be his first gathering with a foreign leader since he won the Speaker’s gavel earlier this month. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the Capitol in December, at the end of the 117th Congress and right before Republicans took control.
President Biden met with Abdullah in July during a trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he “reaffirmed the enduring strength of the strategic friendship between the United States and Jordan,” according to a joint statement following the huddle.
“The two leaders discussed efforts to further advance the close and historic partnership between the United States and Jordan, and coordination in addressing regional and international challenges,” the joint statement added.