How US Foreign Aid Works

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has placed a spotlight on public opinion of US foreign aid. A 2017 Washington Post study found that Americans’ views on U.S. foreign aid shift drastically with different presentations. 67% of people think the U.S. spends too much without an argument, while 28% feel the same with a positive argument, and 88% do with a negative argument against foreign aid.

There is an vast number of misconceptions about how the United States allocates foreign aid as well. Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson claimed, “American aid to other countries…the vast majority of it is military aid,” which is incorrect, as military aid to other countries is approximately 13% of total US foreign aid. 

President Biden has been heavily criticized for his decisions regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Biden asked Congress for $14.3 billion in aid to Israel following the October 7th terrorist attack. Many attributed that aid as something that could contribute to civilian casualties in Gaza. The aid requested, however, would not be capable of being used offensively, as it was munitions for the defensive Iron Dome system and security for U.S. citizens in the embassy that was moved to Jerusalem by former President Trump. Also requested by the White House was humanitarian aid for Gaza, which was delivered after Biden negotiated for a humanitarian corridor as well as opening the Rafah gate.

President Biden has spent the last 5 weeks negotiating a ceasefire paired with hostage exchanges. What started as Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas leadership telling the White House they would not consider a ceasefire under any circumstances turned into a 4-hour daily pause, which turned into the original five-day ceasefire that was agreed to. Biden has successfully been able to extend that ceasefire with more hostages being released. Because Congress is unable to pass an aid package, Biden and his cabinet will have to continue to work on diplomatic solutions to the crisis without their support.

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