Biden Links Wars in Israel and Ukraine, Vows to Speed Aid to Allies

Biden Links Wars in Israel and Ukraine, Vows to Speed Aid to Allies
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U.N., world leaders push to get Gaza aid flowing after Biden pledge.

President Biden declared the world at an “inflection point in history” in an Oval Office address Thursday, linking Israel’s battle against Hamas to Ukraine’s fight against Russia and stressing the need for the U.S. to continue funding both wars.

“American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with,” Biden said. “To put all that at risk and walk away from Ukraine and turn our backs on Israel. It’s just not worth it.”

The address came a day after Biden traveled to Tel Aviv to reaffirm U.S. support for Israeland as the United Nations and world leaders were pushing to get immediate aid flowing into the Gaza Strip.

Biden announced $100 million in aid for the people of Gaza and the West Bank during his trip and spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to come up with a deal to open the Rafah border crossing to allow up to 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. But hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks remained stalled on Thursday.

The president is expected to send to Congress on Friday a wide-ranging supplemental funding request for roughly $100 billion, people familiar with the discussions said, though the Republican-led House remains without a speaker to shepherd the legislation. 

The request is expected to include at least $10 billion for Israel, which Biden described as an “unprecedented commitment” to the country’s security, and roughly $60 billion in assistance to Ukraine, countries in the Indo-Pacific region and border security.

“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.

The president’s staunch support for Israel since Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7 has frustrated some progressives, Muslims and Arab-Americans, who say Biden hasn’t adequately expressed his sympathy for Palestinians or done enough to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In his address, Biden said he was “heartbroken” by the loss of Palestinian lives and reiterated U.S. support for a two-state solution. “The actions of Hamas don’t take that away,” Biden said. “We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity.”

The U.N. warned that the situation in Gaza is growing increasingly desperate. A spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry said the thousands of wounded exceeds what Gazan hospitals can handle.

“I fear that we are at the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Tor Wennesland, the U.N.’s special coordinator for Middle East peace, told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

The push to get aid into Gaza comes as Israel’s defense minister said a ground assault on the enclave could be imminent. The Israeli military has directed residents in the northern Gaza Strip to flee south as it prepares for what is expected to be a difficult ground assault designed to end the rule of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group.

“You now see Gaza from afar, soon you will see it from the inside. The order will come,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops on the Gaza border.

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