In a move that is risky politically and personally, and one that shows just how much is at stake, President Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday. The trip, in addition to showing unity, is intended to serve several key purposes. First, before agreeing to the trip, the Biden team demanded that Israel agree to safe zones and a plan for humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza. Second, the president is pushing Israel to have a plan for what happens if they are able to remove Hamas from power. Third, the president wants to emphasize to Israeli leaders the importance of minimizing civilian casualties. And Fourth, critically, the president wants to ensure that other actors don’t take the opportunity to start a much wider war in the region. Ben Rhodes does a good job of explaining the hours of negotiation that led to Biden’s visit.

+ “Biden is walking into an emotional maelstrom.” David Remnick in The New Yorker: Biden’s Middle East Burden. “Visiting Israel, the President will express support for a traumatized nation, but he must also try to steer it from the blindness of rage.”

+ The visit is not the only deterrent. “The decisions also come as the US military has been steadily bolstering its presence in Middle East, including deploying a second aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to join the USS Ford strike carrier group there, and sending Air Force fighter jets to the region.” US Marine rapid response force moving toward Israel as Pentagon strengthens military posture in region.

+ “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken hurried into a bunker as air raid sirens wailed in Tel Aviv on Monday, in the most dramatic moment of a whirlwind — and unusually chaotic — Middle East tour for America’s top diplomat.” NYT (Gift Article): 10 Stops in 5 Days, Plus an Air Raid Shelter, for Blinken.”A trip originally scheduled for two days has now extended into its sixth, with 10 stops and counting. For an official whose travel schedule is meticulously planned and rarely revised, Mr. Blinken’s frenetic journey has underscored the scale and complexity of the diplomatic crisis he faces.”

+ If nothing else, the Biden visit will at least briefly delay the Israeli ground invasion. Tom Friedman in the NYT (Gift Article): Why a Gaza Invasion and ‘Once and for All’ Thinking Are Wrong for Israel. “Just ask this question: If Israel announced today that it was forgoing, for now, a full-blown invasion of Gaza, who would be happy, and who would be relieved, and who would be upset? Iran would be totally frustrated, Hezbollah would be disappointed, Hamas would feel devastated — its whole war plan came to naught — and Vladimir Putin would be crushed, because Israel would not be burning up ammunition and weapons the U.S. needs to be sending to Ukraine. The settlers in the West Bank would be enraged. Meanwhile, the parents of every Israeli soldier and every Israeli held hostage would be relieved, every Palestinian in Gaza caught in the crossfire would be relieved, and every friend and ally Israel has in the world — starting with one Joseph R. Biden — would be relieved.” (I’m not sure if all the parties listed by Friedman would agree, but the big question he introduces is critical: How does Israel protect itself and punish and disable Hamas without doing wider damage to the long term prospects in the region.)

+ No part of this tragedy is more complex than the hostage situation. And there are no easy answers. Dennis Ross who has worked on the Middle East in a variety of roles for decades: The Best of Bad Options for Recovering the Hostages.

+ An amazing and brutal interview with the father of the one of the women abducted by Hamas. Haaretz (Gift Article): I’m fighting in my own way. Not with anger. Through dialogue.”

+ “I am begging the world to bring my baby back home.”

+ Hundreds are reported dead after a hospital was hit in Gaza, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cancels his scheduled meeting with Biden (whose trip just got even more urgent and more complicated), IDF says the hospital was hit by a failed Islamic Jihad rocket, Israeli embassy attacked in Jordan, Hamas releases a hostage video, humanitarian relief negotiations continue. Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, Times of Israel, and NBC.