WASHINGTON : US President Joe Biden said he will send Congress “an urgent budget request” on Friday to fund America’s national security needs to support its “critical partners,” including Israel and Ukraine.
“It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations,” Biden said Thursday in a speech from the Oval Office.
“The security package I’m sending to Congress is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge,” he added.
“We’re gonna make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel,” he said. “We’re gonna make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.”
Biden is expected to request approximately $100 billion in emergency funding that would include defense assistance for Israel and Ukraine.
During his speech, he also said the Palestinian group Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin represent “different threats,” adding they both seek to “to annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
– US expects Israel to operate by ‘laws of war’
Biden also said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about “the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war” during their meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
“That means protecting civilians in combat as best they can,” he said, adding the people of Gaza urgently need food, water and medicine.
“Yesterday in discussions with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” Biden said.
“The shipments are going to provide an opening for the sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians,” he said.
“As I said in Israel, as hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace,” he added, reiterating the US position on a two-state solution.
“Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity and peace,” he said.
Biden said he was “heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life” in the “explosion” earlier this week at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, which he said “was not done by the Israelis.”
“We mourn every innocent life lost,” he added.
Recalling the brutal murder this week of 6-year-old Palestinian-American Wadea Al-Fayoume in Chicago, Biden said: “We can’t stand by and stand silent when this happens. We must, without equivocation, denounce anti-Semitism. We must also, without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia.”
“We’re a nation of religious freedom, freedom of expression. We all have a right to debate and disagree without fear of being targeted in schools or workplaces or in our communities,” he added. — AA