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Ray Bogan

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Secretary of State explains how humanitarian aid is kept from Hamas

Oct 31, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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The push to get another $106 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel and the border continued Tuesday, Oct. 31. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made the Biden administration’s pitch to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

The president’s request includes

  • $61.4 billion for Ukraine.
  • $14.3 billion for Israel.
  • $13.6 billion for border protection.
  • $10 billion for humanitarian assistance.

“Only firm American leadership can ensure that tyrants, thugs, and terrorists worldwide are not emboldened to commit more aggression and atrocities,” Austin told the committee.

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There is bipartisan agreement that the United States should continue supporting Ukraine and Israel.

“This is not a time to punt American leadership,” Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., said. “The world is on edge and how the U.S. wields it’s leadership will be a critical factor in determining what happens next.”

Republicans added that they want to strengthen security at the southern border. Members of the committee said some of the requests, like money for more immigration judges, appear to make it easier to get people processed once they are already in the country but not prevent them from entering. 

“What we’re working to do, from the perspective of the State Department, is to work closely with other countries to get them to assume their share of responsibility in dealing with this migration,” Blinken said.  

“With all due respect it’s not working,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., said in response.

Humanitarian aid oversight

Senators also expressed concern about humanitarian aid being stolen. Chairwoman Murray asked Blinken how aid provided to Gaza will be kept out of the hands of terrorists. Blinken explained that both Israel and Egypt check every truck at Rafah gate on the Gaza border. These United Nations trucks go to distribution sites, also run by the U.N. 

“We’re then able to do monitoring on the other end by contacting the designated recipients to ensure that it’s actually gotten to where it’s supposed to go,” Blinken said. 

“Without swift and sustained humanitarian relief, the conflict is much more likely to spread, suffering will grow, and Hamas and its sponsors will benefit by fashioning themselves as the saviors of the very desperation that they created,” Blinken said.

Blinken said there will inevitably be some spillage, but that had not happened as of his testimony. He told the committee that, ultimately, an overwhelming majority of the assistance will get to the people who need it.

Protestors interrupted the hearing multiple times chanting “ceasefire now” and “save the children of Gaza.” Blinken addressed the concerns by stating the U.S. has informed Israel that it needs to do all it can to avoid civilian casualties.

“As President Biden has made clear from the outset, while Israel has the right —and indeed, the obligation – to defend itself, the way it does so matters,” Blinken said. “In our discussions with the Israeli government, the president and I have both stressed the need for Israel to operate by the law of war and in accordance with international humanitarian law, and to take all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties.”

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Protestors relentlessly interrupted Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

as they told the Senate Appropriations committee why the Biden administration is asking for an additional 

$106 billion dollars – including $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, $13.6 billion for border protection and $10 billion for humanitarian assistance. 

Secretary Lloyd Austin: “Only firm American leadership can ensure that tyrants, thugs, and terrorists worldwide are not emboldened to commit more aggression and atrocities.”

There is bipartisan agreement that the United States should continue supporting Ukraine and Israel. 

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.: “The world is on edge and how the US wields it’s leadership will be a critical factor in determining what happens next. “

Republicans added that they want to beef up security at the southern border. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “What we’re working to do, from the perspective of the state department, is to work closely with other countries to get them to assume their share of responsibility in dealing with this migration.” 

 

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V.: With all due respect it’s not working.  

Senators also expressed concern about humanitarian aid being stolen. 

Sen. Murray: “how you are confident that if aid is provided in places like Gaza will not end up in the hands of terrorists?”

Blinken explained that both Israel and Egypt check every truck at Rafa gate on the Gaza border. These United Nations trucks then go to UN run distribution sites. 

Secretary Blinken: “We’re then able to do monitoring on the other end by contacting the designated recipients to ensure that it’s actually gotten to where it’s supposed to go. Without swift and sustained humanitarian relief, the conflict is much more likely to spread, suffering will grow, and Hamas and its sponsors will benefit by fashioning themselves as the saviors of the very desperation that they created. “

 

Blinken said there will inevitably be some spillage, but as of his testimony that had not happened. Ultimately he said an overwhelming majority of the assistance will get to the people who need it. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.