President Joe Biden compared Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin and stressed America’s interest in supporting both Ukraine and Israel as the two nations are under siege during a primetime Oval Office speech Thursday.
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy, completely annihilate it,” Biden said.
“Hamas’ stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of the Jewish people. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people,” the president said. “Hamas uses civilians as human shields. And innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of that.”
Biden moved on to talk about Russia continuing war with Ukraine.
“Meanwhile, Putin denies Ukraine has or ever had real statehood,” the president said. “He claims the Soviet Union created Ukraine. Just two weeks ago, he told the world that if the United States withdraws, our allies will as well, military support for Ukraine would have, quote, ‘a week left to live.’ But we’re not withdrawing.”
Biden twice in the speech stressed that U.S. troops would not be sent abroad for the conflicts, and that providing weapons and financial assistance to the countries will keep the United States out of conflicts.
“If we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it’s just not worth it. That’s why tomorrow, I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs, to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine,” Biden said. “It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.”
Biden’s comments comes the same day that nine Republican senators warned against the inclusion of any Ukraine funding in the aid package that the United States is sending to Israel in the wake of brutal Hamas terrorist attacks.
“We know there will no doubt be efforts to attach any funding to Israel to more aid to Ukraine, in excess of the already $113 billion Congress has provided to Ukraine,” the senators said in a Thursday letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “These are two separate conflicts and it would be wrong to leverage support of aid to Israel in attempt to get additional aid for Ukraine across the finish line.”
The senators who joined in the effort were Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, JD Vance of Ohio, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Josh Hawley of Missouri.
Biden also attempted to separate Palestinian people from Hamas terrorists.
“In Israel I saw people who were strong, determined, resilient and also angry in shock and in deep, deep pain,” Biden said. “I also spoke with President [Mahmoud] Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self determination. The actions of Hamas terrorists don’t take that right away.”
Biden additionally talked about the Gaza hospital bombing that Hamas—as well as some anti-Israel American politicians—attempted to use as a propaganda point.
“Like so many others I’m heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life, including the explosion at the hospital in Gaza, which was not done by the Israelis,” Biden said. “We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity.”
Biden further talked about the threat of “Islamophobia.”
“I know many of you in the Muslim-American community, the Arab-American community, the Palestinian-American community and so many others are outraged and hurting, saying to yourself, here we go again with Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11,” Biden said.
“We must without equivocation denounce anti-Semitism,” he continued. “We must also, without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia.”
Mary Margaret Olohan contributed to this report.
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