US President Joe Biden said Wednesday he would ask Congress this week for “unprecedented” aid for Israel, which is expected to be part of a $100 billion package that includes Ukraine support.
Visiting after Israel’s deadliest ever attacks at the hands of Hamas militants, Biden said he was committed to the decades-old US promise to ensure its ally has a “qualitative edge” over adversaries on the battlefield.
“We’re going to make sure you have what you need to protect your people, to defend your nation,” Biden said as he closed a brief solidarity visit.
“Later this week, I’m going to ask the United States Congress for unprecedented support package for Israel’s defence,” he said.
While Israel enjoys strong support in the US Congress, a growing number of lawmakers from the rival Republican Party have voiced doubts about billions of dollars in military support to Ukraine against Russian invaders.
A source familiar with the talks told AFP that Biden would propose a joint $100 billion package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the migration crisis at the US-Mexico border.
The package is intended to bypass congressional chaos and bring Democrats, who have sought additional aid for Kyiv for weeks, together with Republicans, who want funds to tighten controls on the southern border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Congress in September in a bid to persuade Republicans to keep the aid flowing.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday he would be working to approve an aid package for Israel “hopefully within the next few weeks”.
The package would include military, humanitarian, intelligence and diplomatic help, he said.
Tensions have also risen in recent months over Taiwan, the self-governing democracy which China claims and has not ruled out seizing by force.
The official US position on intervention is one of ambiguity, with the United States — which only recognises Beijing — focusing on providing weapons to Taiwan for its own self-defence.
Biden has said he would back sending US forces to defend Taiwan.