Defending Israel is essential. So is aiding civilians in Gaza.

Congress’s swift support will allow us to continue aiding Ukraine as it defends its democracy, its land and its people against Russia’s war of aggression. It will strengthen our hand in an intensifying strategic competition with China. And it will ensure we can help Israel defend itself, while aiding Palestinian civilians caught in a cross-fire of Hamas’s making.

Some in Congress are making the case to fund only parts of the president’s request, including proposals to cut out all humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.It will deepen the suffering of more than 2 million Palestinian civilians — including women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations — who have nothing to do with Hamas’s deplorable attacks. It will undercut Israel’s security and regional stability.

The president has made clear that the United States will ensure Israel has what it needs to defend its people against all threats, including from Iran and its proxy groups. The security assistance in our supplemental request will allow us to deliver on that commitment.Palestinian civilians are not to blame for Hamas’s atrocities or for the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They are its victims. As with civilians in any conflict, the lives of Palestinian civilians must be protected.

Abiding by these standards is difficult in any conflict, much less when confronting an enemy that cynically and monstrously uses civilians as human shields and launches rockets from hospitals, schools and residential buildings.Despite these challenges, preventing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is vital to Israel’s security.

Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza also aligns with our nation’s most deeply held principles, including our belief that every civilian life is equally valuable and equally worthy of protection — no matter what his or her nationality, ethnicity, age, gender or faith. A civilian is a civilian is a civilian.

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