Secretary of State Antony Blinken endorsed President Biden’s request for Congress to pass a single measure that would provide military aid to both Israel and Ukraine.
Last Friday, the White House asked Congress to approve an emergency aid package of $106 for Israel and Ukraine that also included some funding for border security. Some House Republicans opposed the request and called for separate votes for each country.
While appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Blinken told host Kristen Welker that if the US allows “would-be aggressors” like Russia or Hamas to “act with impunity,” the US would be opening a “pandora’s box” that would allow other aggressors to try to do the same thing.
Blinken explained that two US allies are “under attack in different ways” and there must be continued bipartisan support for both.
The Secretary of State also addressed the hostages being held by Hamas.
When asked by Kristen Welker if he believes Hamas’ offer to release additional hostages was credible, Blinken said he was gratified by the release of Judith Raanan and her daughter, and said the US was engaging with “different partners in the region,” to send a “clear message” that the hostages must be “immediately and unconditionally” released.
Blinken said the US is “hopeful” that more hostages will be released, but made it clear that it expects Hamas to release all of them “unconditionally.”
Asked if the Biden administration has been working with Qatar to secure the release of the hostages and if he takes Hamas at its word, Blinken said it is actions and not words that matter, “particularly from Hamas.”
He said one of the first things he did after the October 7 terrorist attacks was to begin discussions with anyone “who might have influence with Hamas” to secure the release of the hostages.