US President Joe Biden on Thursday night delivered an address to the nation from the Oval Office as he prepares to ask for additional billions of dollars in military assistance for Israel and Ukraine.
The funding request, which will be formally unveiled on Friday, is likely to be around $100 billion over the next year, The Associated Press reported, citing people directly familiar with the proposal.
Reuters reported that Biden would ask for $14 billion for Israel and $60 billion for Ukraine.
The total figure includes some money for Taiwan’s defense and for managing the flow of migrants at the southern border with Mexico.
“More than 1,300 people were slaughtered in Israel, including at least 32 American citizens. Scores of innocents. Israelis, Americans taken hostage. As I told the families of Americans being held captive by Hamas, we’re pursuing every avenue to bring their loved ones home,” Biden said as he recalled his visit to Israel on Wednesday.
He stated that Hamas “unleashed pure, unadulterated evil on the world, but sadly, the Jewish people know perhaps better than anyone, that there’s no limit to the depravity of people when they want to inflict pain on others.”
“In Israel, I saw people who are strong, determined, resilient and also angry, and shocked and in deep, deep pain,” recalled Biden, who then added that he spoke to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and “reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self-determination.”
“Like so many others, 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,” he stressed.
Turning to the Ukraine war, Biden said, “The assault on Israel echoes nearly 20 months of war, tragedy and brutality inflicted on the people of Ukraine, people who were very badly hurt since [Russian President Vladimir] Putin launched his all-out invasion.”
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy,” he stated. “Hamas’ stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.”
“Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians and human shields, and innocent Palestinian civilians are suffering because of that.”
“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,” Biden stated. “So if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself to Ukraine. If Putin attacks a NATO ally, we will defend every inch of NATO which the treaty requires and calls for.”
“American leadership is what holds the world together. Our alliances are what keep us safe. And our values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. We put all of that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine or turn our back on Israel,” he added.
“Tomorrow, I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs, support our critical partners including Israel and Ukraine. It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.”
The request includes “an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge. We’re going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.”
He also added that he discussed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can.”
Biden then stated, “As I said in Israel, as hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution. Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity and peace.”
Warning against recent acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia, Biden spoke about cautioning Israel during his visit on Wednesday “not to be blinded by rage, and here in America, let us not forget who we are. We reject all forms of hate. Whether against Muslims, Jews or anyone. That’s what great nations do, and we are a great nation.”