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In a show of support for Israel, President Joe Biden recently visited the country and announced new …

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In a show of support for Israel, President Joe Biden recently visited the country and announced new humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, his trip was marred by conflict in the region, leading to the cancellation of a summit featuring Arab leaders. Jeffrey Feltman, a key figure in international diplomacy, commented on how Biden's display of empathy and caution was received by Israelis, the urgent need for humanitarian relief in Gaza, and the potential dangers posed by Hezbollah in Lebanon.[0]

Biden's visit to Israel was seen as a positive gesture by the country's defenders, as he stood firmly with Israel during a challenging time. However, the region was engulfed in conflict, with a hospital bombing in Gaza leading to the cancellation of an important summit. Additionally, protests erupted across the region, including at the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon's capital.[1] U.S. officials expressed concern that the unrest could escalate further once Israel launched its anticipated ground operation in Gaza.[2]

During his visit, President Biden held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which lasted longer than expected. Biden used his decades-long relationship with Netanyahu, which has faced strain in recent times, to offer advice and seek commitments on providing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

In a speech addressing the visit, Biden expressed solidarity with Israel and shared the grief of the victims of the attacks. He compared the attacks to 9/11 and urged caution, drawing on the lessons learned from the aftermath of that tragic event.[0] Biden emphasized the need to denounce antisemitism and Islamophobia unequivocally, stating that those who are hurting should know they belong and are valued as Americans.

The President also linked the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, highlighting the existential threats faced by both countries. He stressed the importance of supporting these fellow democracies and called on Congress to approve a significant aid package to strengthen their defenses. Biden underscored that these issues are vital to U.S. national security interests.[3]

Biden's speech drew a direct connection between Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Hamas' attacks on Israel.[4] He urged Congress to support efforts to defeat both threats.[4] The President's message emphasized the shared goal of preserving neighboring democracies, despite the differing nature of the threats they face.

The speech also served a practical purpose, pressuring Congress to approve an emergency funding package.[5] The President is expected to request approximately $60 billion in aid to Ukraine and $40 billion for Israel, Taiwan, and the U.S.-Mexico border.[5]

President Biden's visit to Israel garnered praise for his solidarity with the country, but it also highlighted the ongoing conflicts in the region. The need for humanitarian relief in Gaza remains urgent, while the potential escalation from Hezbollah in Lebanon poses additional challenges.[6] Biden's speech addressed these issues, emphasizing the importance of supporting democracies under threat and denouncing antisemitism and Islamophobia unequivocally.

Ultimately, Biden's visit and subsequent speech aimed to demonstrate unwavering support for Israel and Ukraine, while also emphasizing the need for international cooperation in addressing these complex conflicts. The President's call for unity and his commitment to defending democracy and human rights set the stage for future diplomatic efforts in the region.

0. “Biden in Israel and US diplomacy on the Israel-Gaza crisis | Brookings” Brookings Institution, 19 Oct. 2023, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/biden-in-israel-and-us-diplomacy-on-the-israel-gaza-crisis

1. “Biden: America at ‘inflection point' in Israel and Ukraine” POLITICO, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/10/19/biden-terrorist-must-pay-a-price-for-their-terror-00122644

2. “The Inexcusable Omission in Biden's Big Israel Speech” The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2023, https://newrepublic.com/article/176331/bidens-israel-speech-ceasefire-omission

3. “Experts react to Biden's ‘inflection point' address on Ukraine and Israel” Atlantic Council, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/experts-react-to-bidens-inflection-point-address-on-ukraine-and-israel/

4. “Biden: “I refuse” to let Hamas and Putin win” Axios, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/10/20/biden-israel-ukraine-primetime-address

5. “Takeaways from Biden’s speech for American support of Israel and Ukraine” NBC News, 19 Oct. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/watch-live-biden-oval-office-address-rcna121152

6. “Biden makes the case for wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine in primetime address” CNN, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/19/politics/biden-oval-office-speech-israel-ukraine/index.html

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