On Thurday night, President Joe Biden tried to convince U.S. citizens that their country must continue supporting Israel and Ukraine amid the two countries’ respective conflicts.
Addressing the nation from the Oval Office of the White House during prime time, the president said ensuring Israel’s success in the conflict with Hamas and Ukraine’s victory in its conflict with Russia “is vital for America’s national security.”
To achieve the desired outcomes, Biden said he would send an “urgent budget request” to Congress on Friday in order to “fund America’s national security needs to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine.”
The sum of the supplemental spending package requested by the White House, according to people familiar with the matter, amounts to US$100 billion, including US$10 billion for emergency assistance to Israel, and US$60 billion for Ukraine to fund its fight against Russia.
Biden’s speech came one day after his whirlwind trip to Israel to show U.S. support, a journey overshadowed by an attack on a hospital in Gaza City that claimed hundreds of civilian lives and the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza resulting from Israeli bombardment.
Since the start of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, the United States has reiterated time and again its “ironclad” solidarity with Israel, vowing to provide whatever the country needs to continue the fight against Hamas.
Washington, however, is increasingly finding itself in a dilemma over the need to keep a delicate balance between upholding the commitment to Israel and urging its ally to do everything it can to prevent the suffering of Palestinian civilians, which has already led to the eruption of protests across the Arab world.
Earlier on Thursday, Josh Paul, an official at the U.S. State Department, had resigned from his post overseeing U.S. arms transfer to foreign nations. In a letter dated Wednesday, he said he resigned in protest of his country’s “blind support” for Israel shown by “continued — indeed, expanded and expedited — provision of lethal arms.”