Biden to address U.S. on Israel-Hamas war, Ukraine

The speech comes a day after Mr. Biden returns from a trip to Israel to show solidarity after the October 7 Hamas attack, and as he prepares to ask Congress for a joint $100 billion package

October 19, 2023 04:17 am | Updated 11:25 am IST - Washington

Members of the U.S. Jewish community protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza inside the Cannon building in the US Capitol in Washington, DC on October 18, 2023.

Members of the U.S. Jewish community protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza inside the Cannon building in the US Capitol in Washington, DC on October 18, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP

U.S. President Joe Biden will give a primetime speech on Thursday about the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the White House said Wednesday.

Mr. Biden will speak at 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) in the Oval Office, from which presidents have traditionally addressed the nation at times of critical national importance.

Israel-Hamas war, Day 13 LIVE updates

“Tomorrow, President Biden will address the nation to discuss our response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel and Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The speech comes a day after Mr. Biden returns from a trip to Israel to show solidarity after the October 7 Hamas attack, and as he prepares to ask Congress for a joint $100 billion package that includes money for Ukraine, Israel and the southern U.S. border.

Mr. Biden, a Democrat, said in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he would ask Congress for an “unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense” later this week.

The US Congress has been paralyzed by the absence of a speaker in the House of Representatives for more than two weeks.

And U.S. lawmakers rejected hard-line Republican Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker for a second time on Wednesday.

But 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 with Mexico.

Support for Taiwan -- the self-governing democracy which China claims and has not ruled out seizing by force -- is also expected to be in the bill.

Mr. Biden recently called key allies to reassure them of continued U.S. military aid for Ukraine, even as the White House warned the flow would dry up in months if Congress blocks new funds.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Congress in September in a bid to convince Republicans to keep the aid coming and help his country ward off the Russian invasion.

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