US President Joe Biden called on Americans to unite behind Israel and Ukraine and vowed that he will not allow Hamas and Putin to win their wars against “neighboring democracies.”
Acknowledging that “these conflicts can seem far away,” Biden insisted in a rare Oval Office address on Thursday that they remain “vital for America’s national security” as he prepared to ask Congress for billions of dollars in military assistance for both countries.
“History has taught us when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” Biden said. “They keep going. And the cost and the threat to America and the world keep rising.”
Biden said he would send an urgent funding request to Congress, which is expected to be roughly a hundred billion dollars over the following year. The proposal, which will be unveiled on Friday, includes money for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, humanitarian aid, and border management.
Throughout the address, he made comparisons between Israel and Ukraine, Hamas, and Putin. He stressed, however, that Israel should not make the same “mistakes” made by the US after 9/11 when, he said, Americans were “blinded by rage.”
Biden said, “As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace, we cannot give up on a two-state solution” and that “the US remains committed to Palestinians’ right to dignity and to self-determination. The acts of Hamas don’t take that away.”
Biden needs to overcome Congress hurdles on Israel, Ukraine
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats,” Biden said. “But they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
Biden faces an array of steep challenges as he tries to secure the money for Israel and Ukraine, notes an Associated Press (AP) report. The House remains in chaos because the Republican majority has been unable to select a speaker to replace Representative Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted more than two weeks ago.
In addition, AP notes, conservative Republicans oppose funding for sending more weapons to Ukraine as its battle against the Russian invasion approaches the two-year mark.
Biden’s previous request for funding, which included twenty-four billion dollars to help with the next few months of fighting, was stripped out of budget legislation last month despite a personal plea from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, AP says.
Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has told troops gathered at the Gaza border that they will soon see the Palestinian territory “from the inside.” Gallant urged the forces to “get organized, be ready” for an order to move in, suggesting an Israeli ground invasion could be nearing.
Israel is likely to launch a ground assault on the Gaza Strip in the coming days, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in an NBC interview. The Israeli military has a “green light” to move into Gaza whenever it is ready, Israel Economy Minister Nir Barkat said in an interview with US network ABC.