In a critical response to the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, President Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of immediate military assistance during a phone call on Sunday, as reported by the White House.
Biden conveyed that additional aid is “now on its way to Israel with more to follow over the coming days.”
The urgency of this military support is underscored by Israel’s preparations for a comprehensive offensive against Hamas, which initiated an unprecedented invasion of Israeli territory on Saturday.
The potential for this operation to escalate into a prolonged ground conflict in Gaza has raised concerns about the more comprehensive regional impact.
Israel’s Plea for Aid Amid Escalating Crisis
Israel’s prompt request for aid signifies the significant firepower it anticipates needing to address the evolving situation.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed that the United States will swiftly provide the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with additional equipment and resources, including munitions.
Austin elaborated, “The first security assistance will begin moving today and arriving in the coming days.”
He noted that the Israeli Ministry of Defense had already submitted an initial list of required weapons, including munitions for fighter jets.
In addition to this support, Austin emphasized steps to enhance the Department of Defense’s presence in the region, with the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group being deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Moreover, Austin emphasized the United States’ commitment to regional deterrence efforts, affirming that ready forces are available globally to strengthen this posture if necessary.
President Biden’s second call with Prime Minister Netanyahu since the Hamas invasion began highlighted ongoing diplomatic efforts by the United States to support Israel.
The White House’s statement mentioned, “President Biden updated the prime minister on the intensive diplomatic engagement undertaken by the United States over the last 24 hours in support of Israel.”
Furthermore, the leaders discussed their joint commitment to ensure that no adversaries of Israel exploit the current situation. They pledged to maintain regular contact in the coming days.
Notably, the initial assistance package for Israel is free of congressional approval. However, concerns have arisen within the Biden administration regarding the potential obstacles posed by Congress’s current state of affairs.
With chaos among House Republicans following the ousting of Kevin McCarthy as speaker, approval of further aid could face challenges.
A senior US official expressed these concerns: “Congress will definitely have a role (in approving aid to Israel), and without a speaker, this could be a problem.”
The evolving situation will continue to be closely monitored. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to engage with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, further emphasizing the importance of cooperation during these critical times.