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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Biden to request ‘urgent’ aid for Israel and Ukraine

Continued assistance to both countries is “vital” to American security, the president said

US President Joe Biden said he will ask Congress to approve an “unprecedented” military aid package for Israel and Ukraine, arguing the funds would be a “smart investment” for Washington.

In an address from the Oval Office on Thursday night, Biden made the case for boosting US support for both Kyiv and West Jerusalem, declaring that the United States is “the essential nation” which “holds the world together.” He said he would submit a spending plan to lawmakers on Friday.

Read more: US will ‘forever’ stand with Israel – Biden

“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,” he continued. “It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations, [and] help us keep American troops out of harm’s way.”

Biden went on to say that military assistance to partners like Israel and Ukraine is “vital” for US security interests. He warned that “chaos could spread in other parts of the world” should Washington fail to act against “terrorists” and “dictators,” claiming that both Hamas and Russia seek to “completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”

Read more: Biden to visit Israel as war sparks humanitarian crisis

Though the White House has not disclosed details of the budget request, it is expected to carry a $105 billion price tag, including $60 billion for Ukraine and another $14 billion for Israel, according to sources cited by the Associated Press. It will also reportedly devote $14 billion to US border security, $7 billion to the Indo-Pacific region, which covers aid to Taiwan, and $10 billion to humanitarian projects.

The president said the aid would be an “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security,” and would help to fund the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system, hoping to give it a “qualitative military edge.” The Ukraine spending, meanwhile, would finance continued arms shipments to Kiev and replenish US stockpiles.

The White House has voiced strong support for Israel since the deadly October 7 Hamas attack, which Biden likened to “15 9/11s” during a visit to the country earlier this week. Israel has responded to the assault with waves of airstrikes on Gaza. At least 1,400 Israelis and around 3,500 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting erupted this month, according to officials from both sides.

The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to link US support for Ukraine and Israel in recent days. In comments to the Washington Post, one unnamed official said the move would help to overcome resistance from a group of Republicans who vocally back Israel but oppose additional aid to Ukraine.