The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution supporting Israel in a sweeping vote of 412 in favour, 10 against, and 6 abstentions. The resolution calls on Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, to cease fire and release hostages. The move came immediately after Mike Johnson was elected as the new Speaker of the House, fulfilling his promise to prioritize the resolution.
The overwhelming support for the resolution was not without dissent. Nine out of the ten “no” votes came from Democrats, some of whom expressed concerns that the resolution did not address the death of Palestinian civilians. This reflects a broader debate within the Democratic Party, as reported by the Washington Examiner, where Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and 13 other Democrats cast votes against the resolution.
Speaker Mike Johnson, who took over the reins of the House after weeks of deadlock, emphasized that the resolution was already “late on this”. He also holds a nuanced position on the issue of assistance to Ukraine, stating that he supports funding for Kyiv but “under certain conditions”. Johnson aims for “accountability and clarity about the White House’s goals”, as he plans to discuss this matter further.
Last week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to approve a $106 billion aid package that would include funding for Ukraine and Taiwan. Notably, the package also requested $16.3 billion for Israel. The aid package and the resolution come against the backdrop of ongoing conflict in the Middle East, which escalated on October 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. According to Gaza authorities, Israeli retaliatory strikes have resulted in 6,500 deaths, a figure that Reuters notes it cannot independently verify.
The resolution and the aid package signify a complex geopolitical landscape, where the United States is attempting to balance its commitments to various allies and interests. With the new leadership in the House, it remains to be seen how these international issues will be navigated in the coming months.