December 5, 2023

President Biden is addressing the nation from the Oval Office Thursday night at 8 p.m. to affirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and ask Congress for $100 billion in supplemental funding, including billions for Israel.

The president’s address, only his second from the Oval Office, comes on the heels of a whirlwind trip to Israel, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog. There, the president announced the U.S. would give $100 million to aid civilians in Gaza and the West Bank and declared America’s unwavering support for Israel. 

“I come to Israel with a single message — you’re not alone,” the president said in remarks at the conclusions of his meetings in Tel Aviv. “You are not alone. As long as the United States stands, and we will stand forever, we will not let you ever be alone.”

The details of the supplemental request are still emerging, although it also includes aid for Ukraine. But Congress has been paralyzed for over two weeks without an elected House speaker, and so far, House Republicans have been unable to elect a new speaker after a small group of Republicans voted with Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy earlier this month. 

Israel has suffered more than 1,400 deaths at the hands of Hamas, and 3,500 have been injured. Thirty-one U.S. citizens have been killed in Israel, and 13 remain unaccounted for, some of them believed to be held hostage by the U.S.-designated terrorist group. Meanwhile, Israel is continuing airstrikes on Gaza, where Palestinian officials say almost 3,800 have been killed.

Mr. Biden said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi agreed to allow up to 20 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza through the Rafa gate. But if Hamas confiscates the aid or doesn’t allow it through, the humanitarian aid will cease. 

The president told reporters on the way back from Tel Aviv that he was “very blunt” with the Israelis. He said Israel has been “badly victimized,” but if they have an opportunity to relieve the suffering of people who have nowhere to go,” they should. If Israel doesn’t try to alleviate suffering, “you’re going to lose credibility worldwide,” he said. The president said he received “no pushback” from Netanyahu or other Israeli leaders on allowing humanitarian aid. 

The president was supposed to meet with Arab leaders in Jordan on Wednesday, but Jordan’s foreign minister cancelled the meeting, and the U.S. scrapped the stop from the Middle East trip. 

Americans are still missing in the conflict, some of them believed to be held hostage by Hamas. The president told reporters that “we’re going to get people out, and quickly” but said he couldn’t discuss details. 

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