Biden to Announce New Military Aid to Israel After Hamas Attack – The Biden administration is getting ready to provide extra military support to Israel in order to ensure it has the necessary resources to defend against the Hamas attack from Gaza. This announcement was made by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union. Blinken also confirmed that American civilians were among those who lost their lives and were taken hostage.
He mentioned that the details of this additional assistance for Israel are expected to be officially disclosed by the end of the day. He said the US government had received reports of “several Americans” killed in the fighting, as well as “reports of missing Americans.” Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, heightened concerns regarding American citizens by stating on Fox & Friends that there were numerous Americans among the hostages held in Gaza.
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Blinken told ABC News’s This Week that the Hamas incursion that began on Saturday morning was “the worst attack on Israel since 1973 the Yom Kippur war almost 50 years ago”. He called the assault “a massive terrorist attack that is gunning down Israeli civilians in their towns, in their homes, literally dragging people across the border with Gaza, including a Holocaust survivor in a wheelchair, women and children.”
Blinken added that the world “should be revolted at what it’s seen.” The fact that American citizens are among the casualties and hostages is expected to escalate the political discussions in Washington concerning the United States’ reaction to the Hamas attack. This conflict has already triggered partisan disagreements between Republican leaders and the Biden administration.
Furthermore, the ongoing internal discord within the conservative party, coupled with the current absence of a Republican Speaker in the House of Representatives, may potentially hinder congressional support for Israel. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic minority leader in the House, urged the Biden administration to “provide whatever assistance they can to Israel”. He told CNN that there was a need for additional resources to bolster Israel’s Iron Dome defense systems “given the likelihood of a prolonged engagement that is going to take place in the region.”
The Israel conflict is fueling political tensions, both between the two major parties and within the Republican party, as they search for a new speaker and presidential candidate for the upcoming White House race next year. Former Vice President and presidential aspirant Mike Pence used this crisis as an opportunity to criticize his former running mate.
Pence stated in an interview with CNN that the violence in the Middle East was partially a consequence of calls from his Republican presidential rivals to withdraw from international involvement. He specifically pointed to three of his fellow presidential competitors: the former U.S. president, the entrepreneur, and the Florida governor, all of whom have expressed concerns about U.S. funding for supporting Ukraine.
“This is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump and Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world. What happened in Ukraine was an unprovoked invasion by Russia, what happened this weekend was an unprovoked invasion by Hamas into Israel,” he said.
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Michael McCaul, the Republican chair of the House foreign affairs committee, lamented the lack of his own party’s leadership at this critical moment given the ousting of the former speaker Kevin McCarthy last week by the hard-right flank. “It wasn’t my idea to oust the speaker,” he told CNN’s State of the Union. “I thought it was dangerous. What kind of message are we sending to our adversaries when we can’t govern, when we are dysfunctional, when we don’t even have a speaker of the House. That’s a terrible message.”