Thursday, February 29, 2024

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    Biden Vows Military Aid and Solidarity with Israel Amidst Gaza Conflict

    In a resolute address, President Biden pledged unwavering military support for Israel amidst the ongoing Gaza conflict. He underscored the severity of the recent attack, which resulted in numerous casualties and captives, drawing a striking parallel between Hamas and ISIL (ISIS), branding both as purveyors of “terrorism.”

    “This is a depiction of a human tragedy on a scale that defies comprehension,” declared Biden. “We stand resolute, offering our steadfast support to the beleaguered people of Israel, who are enduring immeasurable losses while resisting the scourge of terrorism.”

    However, the U.S. President refrained from detailing the specifics of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, focusing instead on endorsing what he referred to as Israel’s “responsibility to counter these ruthless attacks.”

    Here are five key takeaways from President Biden’s address:

    1. Enhanced Military Aid for Israel

    Biden committed to bolstering military assistance to Israel, a nation already benefiting from $3.8 billion in U.S. military aid. He asserted, “We are providing additional military support, including vital ammunition and interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome, Israel’s anti-missile system. We will ensure that Israel does not deplete these critical assets necessary to protect its cities and citizens.”

    The President called on Congress to urgently fund the national security needs of key allies, likely referring to both Israel and Ukraine, the latter currently grappling with a full-scale invasion by Russia. He emphasized that this issue transcends political boundaries and is centered on global and U.S. security.

    Biden disclosed that his administration maintains constant communication with Israeli counterparts, with daily briefings from his security team. He also held discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

    2. No Mention of Palestinian Civilian Casualties or Broader Conflict

    Notably, President Biden did not acknowledge the mounting death toll in Gaza as a result of relentless Israeli airstrikes on this densely populated area. His focus remained exclusively on the Israeli victims of Hamas’s aggression.

    Biden made only one reference to Palestinians, condemning Hamas with the assertion, “Hamas does not advocate for the dignity and self-determination of the Palestinian people. Its avowed purpose is the annihilation of the state of Israel and the harm of Jewish individuals.”

    However, Hamas’s 2017 charter contradicts Biden’s statement, rejecting the persecution of any individual based on national, religious, or sectarian grounds.

    Biden also abstained from addressing the underlying causes of the conflict, such as Hamas’s claim that the attack was a response to Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, frequent violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, and the nearly two-decade-long blockade on Gaza. Various human rights organizations have accused Israel of enforcing an apartheid system against Palestinians.

    3. Warning Against Exploitation of the Conflict

    In a message seemingly directed at Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, President Biden cautioned against exploiting the Gaza conflict, stating, “To any nation, organization, or entity contemplating capitalizing on the situation, I have a single message: Don’t. Our hearts may be heavy, but our resolve is unwavering.”

    Biden highlighted that the U.S. had bolstered its military presence in the region to enhance deterrence in response to the situation. The Pentagon had earlier announced plans to deploy additional military assets to the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the Hamas attack.

    He clarified that the U.S. does not intend to put troops on the ground in Gaza, and its involvement has remained indirect.

    4. Unwavering Political Backing for Israel’s Response

    Despite concerns for the more than 2.2 million people living in Gaza, President Biden unequivocally expressed political support for Israel’s military actions. Israeli leaders had previously declared a comprehensive siege on the Palestinian enclave, vowing to block food and essential supplies, prompting worry from human rights advocates and the United Nations.

    “Like every nation worldwide, Israel possesses the right and, indeed, the duty to respond to these heinous attacks,” declared Biden. “Make no mistake: The United States stands firmly behind Israel. We will ensure that the Jewish and democratic state of Israel can protect itself, today and in the future, just as we always have.”

    Biden concluded by affirming that he had conveyed to Prime Minister Netanyahu that if the U.S. faced a similar attack, its response would be swift, resolute, and overwhelming.

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