| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Biden calls for more aid for Israel and Ukraine

President Joe Biden has urged support for additional US aid for Ukraine and Israel, saying in a televised address from the Oval Office that “American leadership is what holds the world together.”

Biden spoke hours after returning to Washington from an urgent visit to Israel to show US support in the wake of a deadly attack by Hamas on Oct. 7. Some 1,400 civilians were killed and roughly 200 others, including Americans, were taken to Gaza as hostages. Israel has responded with airstrikes, and 3,785 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

“History has taught us 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 said. “They keep going. And the cost and the threat to America and the world keep rising.”

Biden placed an increased emphasis on the deadly toll that the conflict has had on civilians in the Middle East, saying he’s “heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life.”

“Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity and peace,” Biden said. He also warned about a rising tide of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the US, noting the killing of Wadea Alfayoumi, a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy.

“To all you hurting, I want you to know I see you. You belong,” Biden said. “And I want to say this to you. You’re all Americans.”

The US president argued that Israel needs help to defend itself from Hamas. He also said the US must help Ukraine stop the advances of Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep other “would-be aggressors” from trying to take over other countries.

Biden said he will send lawmakers an “urgent budget request” Friday to fund US national security needs.

He called the request, said to carry a price tag of about $100 billion, a “smart investment” that will pay dividends for decades to come.

Biden included in his remarks a warning to Iran’s leaders, who have supported Hamas in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and said the US “will continue to hold them accountable.”

  • Asharq Al-Awsat