US President Joe Biden has launched an urgent mission to get Americans behind spending tens of billions more dollars on supporting Israel and Ukraine, using a rare Oval Office speech to say US backing is critical for the two major allies immersed in wars.
He declared it is “vital for America’s national security” for Israel and Ukraine to succeed in their wars, making the case for deepening US involvement in two unpredictable foreign conflicts as he prepared to ask for a huge boost in military assistance for both countries.
The President asserted that if international aggression is allowed to continue, “conflict and chaos could spread to other parts of the world. Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
Reuters reports his message carried some urgency with Israel poised to launch a ground offensive to root out Hamas militants from Gaza amid extreme tensions over a deadly airstrike at a Gaza hospital.
President Biden insisted Israel was not responsible for the tragedy as Hamas claimed and most of the Arab world believes, but he explained: “We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have opportunity.”
He said he would send an urgent funding request to Congress, which is expected to be around A$170 billion for the next year, including A$95 billion for Ukraine, A$22 billion for Israel and A$16 billion for humanitarian efforts.
Such a measure must pass both the Democratic-led US Senate where additional aid has bipartisan support, and the Republican-led House which is in disarray after being without a Speaker for more than two weeks.
Recent polls in the US indicate a sharp divide over Americans’ support for both Israel and Ukraine.