Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Biden: US Facing Critical Moment in Relations with Israel and Ukraine


President Joe Biden delivered a rare speech from the Oval Office on Thursday evening, passionately advocating for assistance to be given to Israel and Ukraine.

He painted a grim picture of the potential consequences if the assistance and America’s overall dedication to protecting democracy were not provided.

In a rare speech from the Oval Office on Thursday evening, President Joe Biden strongly urged for support to be provided to both Israel and Ukraine.

He presented a bleak prediction of the consequences if that assistance, along with the United States’ broader dedication to safeguarding democracy, is not provided.

Biden stated that history has shown that when terrorists and dictators are not held accountable for their actions, it leads to increased chaos, death, and destruction. He believes that if these individuals are not stopped, the consequences for America and the world will continue to escalate.

Biden’s speech came a day after he returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel to stand in solidarity with its longtime ally. Ahead of what could be an escalation of violence in the Middle East, Biden laid out the stakes in clear terms, saying that while Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hamas “represent different threats,” they both want to “completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”

Initially, the president delivered his speech with a fast pace, relying on a teleprompter. However, as he progressed, his tone became more subdued as he touched on more serious topics. He occasionally coughed and gestured with his finger on the desk. Overall, he adopted a serious demeanor, highlighting the urgency of addressing multiple pressing issues in the world.

Biden connected the recent conflict in Israel to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, attempting to renew waning backing for a prolonged war.

During his primetime address, he took the opportunity to explain to the public why two conflicts in a distant region were crucial for American national security. He emphasized the importance of fighting against the spread of authoritarianism. On Friday, Biden is expected to submit a spending proposal of $100 billion, which would provide aid to Ukraine and Israel.

He referred to it as a “critical budget proposal” that would demonstrate an “unprecedented dedication to ensuring Israel’s safety.”

“According to Biden, this is a wise investment that will benefit American security for many years. Support us in ensuring the safety of American troops. Let’s work towards creating a safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous world for our future generations.”

If the president wants to secure all aid in one congressional vote, he will need to navigate through various ideological conflicts. Though there is generally strong support for providing funds to Israel, a few vocal Republicans are starting to object to sending more aid to Ukraine. The political gridlock in Congress could further complicate the issue of funding.

The House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, has been without a speaker for several weeks. This has made it difficult to pass any laws, including the aid that Israel has requested. On Thursday, Republicans abandoned a proposal to have Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) serve as interim speaker, as there are still disagreements within the party. This has once again left the House at a standstill.

On Thursday, Biden expressed his condolences for the Palestinian lives lost after a hospital in Gaza was hit by a rocket, causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians. He firmly stated that Israel was not responsible for the explosion, but also acknowledged the urgent need for food, water, and medicine in Gaza.

The recognition of the enormity of the tragedy faced by Palestinians, which is one of the strongest since the conflict began, is being acknowledged amidst backlash from prominent Arab American and Muslim leaders regarding the stance of the White House during this crisis.

The president announced the name of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy who was reportedly killed due to his Muslim faith.

“We can’t stand by and stand silent when this happens,” Biden said. “We must without equivocation denounce antisemitism. We must also without equivocation denounce Islamophobia. And to all you hurting, I want you to know I see you. You belong. And I want to say this to you: You’re all American.”

Highlighting the significance of this occasion, this is only the second instance in which President Biden has given formal remarks from the Oval Office since taking office. In June, he addressed the nation from the Resolute Desk to discuss a bipartisan accord to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt.

Biden has received praise from those who support Israel for showing strong support for the country. However, his visit to Israel was affected by ongoing conflict in the area. A planned summit in Amman with leaders from Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt was called off due to an explosion at a hospital in Gaza. Meanwhile, protests throughout the region intensified while Biden was still in Tel Aviv, with demonstrations occurring at the American embassy in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. U.S. officials have expressed concern that the situation in the region may escalate further once Israel begins its expected ground operation in Gaza.

Biden’s main point on Thursday was a representation of the grand ideas he has emphasized during his time as president: redefining the next hundred years as a struggle between democratic and autocratic systems.

He stated that the United States’ leadership is crucial in maintaining global stability. Our alliances ensure our safety, and our values make us an appealing partner for other countries to collaborate with.