WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Thursday, making the case for why the United States should support both Israel and Ukraine. The president advocated for increased funding for these two countries during his speech, a proposal that is currently facing some opposition in Washington.
President Biden’s address follows his recent visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, where he expressed unwavering support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks that claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people, including 32 Americans.
The president argued that it is in America’s national security interest to see Israel and Ukraine succeed in their battles.
“You know, history has taught us that 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,” President Biden said.
“They keep going and the cost and the threat to America and the world keep rising.”
He announced that he would submit to Congress a supplemental budget request to aid both countries.
“That’s why tomorrow I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs, to support our critical partners including Israel and Ukraine,” the president said. “It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.”
Media reports have earlier indicated that the White House is considering a massive aid package that may top $100 billion and include money for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and border security.
While there is strong bipartisan support for assisting Israel, Republicans are growing wary of increased funding to Ukraine. In addition, the approval of the aid package faces obstacles due to the Republican Party’s ongoing struggle to select a new speaker for the House.
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy,” President Biden warned.
The president called his aid plan an “unprecedented commitment to Israel security” that will increase Iron Dome monitoring and deterrence.
He also reiterated that Israel bears no responsibility for the recent bombing of a hospital in Gaza.
“I’m heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life including the explosion at the hospital in Gaza, which was not done by the Israelis. We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity,” the president said.
“When I was in Israel yesterday, I said that when America experienced the hell of 9/11, we felt enraged as well. While we sought and got justice, we made mistakes. So, I caution the Government of Israel not to be blinded by rage.”
Reuters earlier reported that the president will ask Congress for $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel, citing anonymous sources.
The request will also contain $10 billion for humanitarian aid, $14 billion for border security, and $7 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, according to the report. And half of the $60 billion budget for Ukraine would be used to replace and modernize U.S. weapons stocks.
During his speech, the president emphasized the importance of continued financial aid for Ukraine.
“From the outset, I’ve said I will not send American troops to fight in Ukraine,” he said. “Let me be clear about something. We send Ukrainian equipment sitting in our stockpiles. And when we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stockpiles with new equipment.”
While the Biden administration aims to pursue funding to Israel and Ukraine in a single package, some House Republicans are opposed to the idea. Republican political strategist Ford O’Connell believes the resistance stems from concerns about corruption and a lack of a clear goal.
“Joe Biden has never once articulated what the American mission in Ukraine is,” Mr. O’Connell told The Epoch Times.
“The Ukrainian government is rife with corruption,” he added. “So, the question is, does the money we provide Ukrainians actually go to the Ukrainian military and people?”
Republicans are also upset that the United States is paying the lion’s share of NATO defense spending and other countries are not contributing enough, Mr. O’Connell said.
According to a new CNN poll, about 71 percent of Americans sympathize with the Israeli people following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and believe the Israeli government’s military response was justifiable.
The poll also found that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to express a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian people.