Biden to seek billions in military aid for Israel
As full-scale invasion of Gaza looms

Biden to seek billions in military aid for Israel

/ 05:50 AM October 21, 2023

Israel is vowing to wipe out Hamas in a relentless onslaught on the Gaza Strip but has no obvious endgame in sight

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

WASHINGTON/GAZA/JERUSALEM—US President Joe Biden asked Americans to spend billions more dollars to help Israel fight Hamas, while Israel’s defense chief told his troops to be ready to go into the Gaza Strip to destroy the Palestinian militant group.

In a televised White House speech late on Thursday that also addressed Ukraine’s effort to repel Russia’s invasion, Biden said Hamas sought to “annihilate” Israel’s democracy.


The president also stressed the urgency of getting relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza who lack food, water and medicine.


“We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have opportunity,” said Biden, who visited Israel on Wednesday.

READ: Biden offers Israelis support, Palestinians aid in Tel Aviv

Israel appeared to be getting closer to a full-scale invasion of Gaza, a densely populated enclave ruled by Hamas. The Israeli military has massed troops and equipment near the Gaza border.

“You see Gaza now from a distance, you will soon see it from inside. The command will come,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops gathered at the Gaza border on Thursday.Biden said he would ask Congress on Friday to approve extra funding for Israel. A person familiar with the matter earlier said that would total $14 billion.

“It’s a smart investment that’s gonna pay dividends for American security for generations,” the president added.

Israel has pounded Gaza with air strikes and put the enclave’s 2.3 million people under siege after Hamas gunmen rampaged through Israeli towns and kibbutzim on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 Israelis and taking scores of hostages.


Some 3,500 people in Gaza have been killed and more than a million have been made homeless, according to Palestinian health officials. Civilians say their situation is desperate as they run short of food, water, fuel and medical supplies.

Aid slow to move

During an eight-hour visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Biden sought to broker a deal to get aid into Gaza but had only limited success.

He said Israel and Egypt agreed that 20 trucks with relief supplies could cross into the enclave. Two Egyptian security sources said equipment was sent on Thursday through its border crossing to repair roads on the Gaza side. More than 100 trucks were waiting in Egypt.

The crossing has been out of operation amid Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian side of the border.

While some officials previously expected aid to enter Gaza on Friday, the chances appeared to dwindle. The newly appointed US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David Satterfield was still negotiating the “exact modalities” of aid deliveries with Israeli and Egyptian officials, the state department said.

There have been repeated delays and obstacles, and Israel has demanded assurances that relief supplies could not be commandeered by Hamas militants. The United Nations has called for aid to return to preconflict levels of 100 trucks a day. Secretary General Antonio Guterres planned to visit the Rafah border crossing from Egypt to Gaza on Friday.

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Earlier on Thursday, the Pentagon said a US Navy warship intercepted three cruise missiles and several drones launched by the Houthi movement from Yemen potentially toward Israel. The Houthi, like Hamas, are backed by Iran.

TAGS: America, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, United States

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