The Oasis Reporters
October 21, 2023
The American Congress was almost becoming weary of funding further wars when the horrors in Gaza occurred with Hamas burning hostages alive.
Foreign Policy (FP) reports that in a rare national address from the Oval Office, U.S. President Joe Biden appealed to Americans and the U.S. Congress on Thursday to continue supporting Israel and Ukraine.
Arguing that ensuring the two countries’ success in their wars is “vital for America’s national security,” Biden called on Congress to pass a $105 billion aid package that would give $61 billion to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel in weaponry and humanitarian assistance.
The rest of the funds would address several other issues: $9 billion would go to unspecified humanitarian efforts, $14 billion to managing the U.S.-Mexico border and fighting fentanyl trafficking, and $7 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Taiwan.
Biden’s speech, only the second such address in his presidency, comes amid a leadership crisis among U.S. House Republicans that has stymied the White House’s ability to continue to respond to the conflicts in the Middle East and Europe.
And it took place just 24 hours after the president visited Tel Aviv, where he delivered a robust declaration of U.S. support: “I come to Israel with a single message:
You’re not alone,” Biden said. “As long as the United States stands—and we will stand forever—we will not let you ever be alone.”
The U.S. military has also demonstrated that support in recent days. On Thursday, the USS Carney, a Navy warship based in the Red Sea, shot down three cruise missiles and multiple drones fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Like Hamas, the Houthis are a militant group backed by Iran.
According to the U.S. Defense Department, the missiles were “potentially” aimed at Israel, but their exact target remains unclear. Washington’s response was in line with past defense policies, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said, and it will continue advocating deterrence to prevent the conflict from spreading throughout the region.
In Thursday’s speech, Biden reiterated that U.S. military deployments to the Middle East will not aid in combat missions.
Already, the USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower are en route to the Eastern Mediterranean to provide Israeli troops with medical aid.
But the White House isn’t the only global actor involved in trying to shape the course of the conflict. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will host a peace summit in Cairo on Saturday to discuss next steps for the region.
Leaders from Turkey and Qatar as well as European Council President Charles Michel and European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell will attend.
Noticeably absent are Israel, the United States, and Iran. Without these three key powers, many regional experts worry the summit will accomplish little.
In one diplomatic win, though, Hamas militants released two U.S. citizens being held hostage on Friday. Qatari officials helped mediate the mother and daughter’s release, but as many as 200 hostages, including an unknown number of U.S. nationals, remain in captivity.
In a press conference on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.
Additional report: Foreign Policy.