President Joe Biden pledged his support to Israel after Hamas carried out an attack in its southern region on Saturday, promising that Washington, DC will “ensure” they have everything they need to help their citizens defend themselves to help.
Hamas fired thousands of rockets as dozens of its fighters infiltrated by air, land and sea the heavily fortified border in areas near the Gaza Strip, marking an escalation in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The attack quickly sparked bipartisan rebuke from U.S. leaders, as Israel is considered its closest ally in the Middle East.
Biden gave a speech at the White House condemning the attack and issuing a stark warning to Israel’s enemies.
“Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Point. There is never any justification for terrorist attacks, and my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock-solid and unwavering. Let me say this as clearly as possible. This is not a moment.” “It is appropriate for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to gain an advantage. The world is watching,” he said.
Meanwhile, several social media posts circulated on Saturday claiming that Biden had approved an $8 billion security package following the attacks.
The claim was posted by several high-profile accounts, including some apparent news websites, and appeared to come from a photo that appeared to show a White House press release announcing the $8 billion in relief payments.
The photo suggests that Biden has directed the State Department to “direct the use of up to $8 billion in Department of Defense articles and services, as well as military education and training, to assist Israel.”
“Biden has approved an emergency military aid package for Israel worth $8 BILLION. “Zelensky is angry,” conservative commentator Jackson Hinkle posted.
“Biden immediately approved allocating $8 billion in military aid to Israel. Somehow there is always money for violence. And somehow the bombing of civilians is ignored,” wrote progressive activist Joshua Hill.
“Media coverage: “Amid Operation Al-Aqsa surge of Palestinian resistance in Gaza, US President Joe Biden approves emergency military aid package for occupying state Israel worth $8 billion,” Quds News Network published.
No such press statement was posted on the White House website, and Biden did not provide any specific relief efforts during his news conference Saturday afternoon.
Biden said he was in contact with members of Congress and had directed his national security team to begin discussions with their Israeli counterparts “to make sure Israel has what it needs.”
Yet the United States has given Israel billions of dollars in aid in recent years. Biden signed a law last year providing $3.8 billion in annual funding to Israel from fiscal year 2019 to 2028. This is part of a 2016 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the US and Israel, in which former President Barack Obama pledged to provide $3.8 billion per year over the next 10 years.
According to an earlier White House statement, the memorandum of understanding provided $33 billion in foreign military financing, including $5 billion in assistance for missile defense.
Meanwhile, Congress also approved $520 million for joint U.S.-Israel defense programs in 2023, according to a Congressional Research Center report.
Newsweek has emailed the White House, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Hamas seeking comment.
Although the U.S. has been a consistent ally of Israel and Biden has broadly pledged support for Ukraine, the White House has not confirmed that it plans to send an additional $8 billion to the country in the wake of the Hamas attack.
No evidence could be found that the White House ever released a statement pledging that support, and some on social media said it appeared to be manipulated.
However, the screenshot appears to use the exact wording of a July 25, 2023 memorandum in which Biden ordered an additional $400 million for Ukraine to defend against a Russian invasion.
FACT CHECK FROM NEWSWEEK