Biden's Stance on Hamas and Israel
In a significant move, President Joe Biden has urged Americans to allocate billions more in aid to help Israel counter Hamas. In his recent White House address, which also touched upon Ukraine's resistance against Russia's invasion, Biden highlighted Hamas's intentions to "destroy" Israel's democratic foundations. He underscored the importance of providing relief to the Palestinians in Gaza, emphasizing their dire need for food, water, and medicine. "We must recognize the plight of innocent Palestinians desiring peaceful existence and opportunities," Biden remarked.
Details on the Proposed Aid
The president is set to approach Congress for additional funding to assist Israel. Inside sources have hinted that the amount could be as substantial as $14 billion. Biden elaborated that these funds would bolster Israel's military prowess, maintaining their strategic advantage. He further justified the aid, linking it with America's national security and the necessity to support pivotal allies like Israel. He believes such an investment promises long-term returns in terms of US security.
Tensions Rise in the Gaza Strip
On the ground, Israel's preparations for a potential full-scale invasion of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are becoming evident. The Israeli military has started amassing troops and equipment near the Gaza border. The Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, issued a forewarning to his troops about the impending conflict. Following the events of October 7, where Hamas gunmen were responsible for the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, Israel retaliated with a barrage of airstrikes on Gaza, indicating a probable full-scale invasion soon.
Dire Circumstances for Gaza's Civilians
Civilians in Gaza are grappling with worsening conditions, facing severe shortages of essentials. Palestinian health officials report that the conflict has claimed around 3,500 lives and left over a million people homeless.
Aid Challenges for Gaza
President Biden, during his recent visit to Tel Aviv, made efforts to orchestrate a relief aid deal for Gaza but witnessed only limited success. Although an agreement was reached with Israel and Egypt to allow 20 trucks with relief supplies into Gaza, there are still complications. The U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues, David Satterfield, is still in discussions about the "exact modalities" of aid delivery. Repeated setbacks and Israel's demands for assurances against Hamas taking control of the relief supplies further complicate matters.
Conflict Spillover Concerns
The recent hospital explosion in Gaza and the potential Israeli ground invasion have exacerbated concerns about the conflict's potential spread. While Palestinians attribute the hospital explosion to an Israeli airstrike, Israel and Biden assert that it was due to a failed rocket launch by Palestinian militants. The situation further intensifies with the involvement of other groups in the region. The Pentagon intercepted missiles and drones from the Houthi movement, backed by Iran, similar to Hamas. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, also aligned with Iran, engaged in a crossfire with Israel, resulting in casualties, including a journalist.
Potential for a Wider War
As fears grow, the West Bank could become a new front in this expanding war. Clashes in the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm led to the death of 13 Palestinians. Hamas' armed wing spokesperson, Abu Obeida, on Al Jazeera, has appealed for anti-Israel rallies across Arab and Muslim nations, hinting at their readiness for an extended conflict with Israel.