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Smoke and fire rise from an explosion after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip Oct. 13, 2023. (AP) Smoke and fire rise from an explosion after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip Oct. 13, 2023. (AP)

Smoke and fire rise from an explosion after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip Oct. 13, 2023. (AP)

Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone October 13, 2023

Joe Biden isn’t ‘funding every angle’ of Israel-Hamas war, as misleading post claims

If Your Time is short

  • The Biden administration has provided billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, continuing a decadeslong tradition of such U.S. aid.

  • Joe Biden provided $360 million in humanitarian and economic assistance in 2021 to the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. That money did not fund Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and that attacked Israel.

  • As part of a deal to release U.S. prisoners in Iran, the Biden administration agreed to give Iran access to its $6 billion in oil revenue that was frozen in South Korean banks. Officials say none of that money has been disbursed to Iran and is intended for humanitarian purposes.

As Israel bombarded Gaza with airstrikes in the days following a surprise attack by Hamas militants, one social media user tried to tie the escalating conflict to money provided by President Joe Biden.

"Biden doesn’t want the world to know that he is funding every angle of this conflict," said text in an Oct. 11 Instagram post atop an image of competing missiles in the night sky.

The post listed three claims about funding provided by Biden:

  • "Biden unfroze $360 million in 2021 and began sending it to Palestine."

  • "America sends billions every year to Israel for military aid."

  • "Biden unfroze $6 billion cash for Iran on 9/11."

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The post misleads by leaving out critical facts to give the impression that money provided by Biden is behind the current Israeli-Hamas fight. In short, U.S. aid to Palestinians was for humanitarian reasons; Biden’s military funding to Israel continues a long tradition of U.S. aid that predates Biden’s administration; and the $6 billion of unfrozen Iranian oil money has yet to be disbursed.

Let’s take a closer look at the three claims.

Claim: "Biden unfroze $360 million in 2021 and began sending it to Palestine."

The State Department announced in May 2021 that the U.S. was providing more than $360 million in aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. The announcement came soon after a cease-fire in an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.

It also reversed a decision by former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 cut off U.S. funding for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians.

The money Biden provided was for humanitarian purposes, not for military aid, as the Facebook post suggests. According to a 2021 statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the aid would not go to Hamas, an Islamic militant group the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization in 1997. Hamas won elections in 2006 and has ruled Gaza since 2007.

"All of these funds will be administered in a way that benefit the Palestinian people — not Hamas, which has only brought misery and despair to Gaza," Blinken said in 2021.

Claim: "America sends billions every year to Israel for military aid."

The U.S. sends billions of dollars every year to aid Israel’s military, but it has been doing so for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations. In fiscal years 2021 through 2023, the U.S. sent about $12.4 billion total to Israel for its defense, according to a March report from the Congressional Research Service. 

The U.S. has sent more than $124 billion dollars in military aid and missile defense to Israel since 1946, according to that report.

Claim: "Biden unfroze $6 billion cash for Iran on 9/11."

In the context of this post, this claim omits some important details. The Biden administration made a deal with Iran to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue held in South Korean banks in exchange for the release of five American prisoners held in Iran. Five Iranians held in U.S. prisons were also released as part of the deal.

The $6 billion deal was announced in August, although the administration officially told Congress on Sept. 11 that it had issued a waiver to give Iran access to the money.

In the days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, many Republicans, including presidential candidates, criticized the deal, claiming that the money could have indirectly helped fund the assault on Israel. Some argued that "money is fungible" — meaning Iran may have spent money arming Hamas knowing it would soon have access to the released funds.

Biden administration officials said none of the $6 billion, which was transferred from South Korea to Qatar’s central bank, has been disbursed to Iran yet, and any distribution would be supervised by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Blinken said in an Oct. 12 news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, that the money can only be dispensed for humanitarian goods and that the U.S. has "strict oversight of the funds, and we retain the right to freeze them."

Our ruling

An Instagram post said Biden is funding "every angle" of the Israel-Hamas conflict, citing $360 million in aid to the Palestinians, military funding to Israel and the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue.

The post leaves out key context. The $360 million in aid to Palestinians was for humanitarian purposes, and didn’t go to Hamas. The U.S. has given military funding to Israel for decades. The $6 billion in Iranian oil money has yet to be disbursed, and also can be used only for humanitarian reasons.

We rate the claim Mostly False.

RELATED: 

The US freed $6 billion in Iranian money. Did it help fund Hamas’ attack on Israel? 

How to avoid misinformation about the war in Gaza 

Donald Trump wrong that US tax dollars went to Iran, Hamas 

Fact-check: What Trump said about ‘$6 billion to Iran,’ immigration, economy at New Hampshire rally 

Hamas militants ‘pouring’ across U.S. southern border? Donald Trump's claim is Pants on Fire! 

Our Sources

Instagram post, Oct. 11, 2023 (archived)

U.S. State Department, U.S. Assistance for the Palestinian People, May 26, 2021

U.S. State Department, Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a Press Availability, Oct. 12, 2023

U.S. State Department, Secretary Antony J. Blinken with David Muir of World News Tonight, Oct. 12, 2023

U.S. State Department, Newsroom, accessed Oct. 13, 2023

U.S. State Department spokesperson, email exchange, Oct. 13, 2023

Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, March 1, 2023

U.S. News & World Report, How Much Aid Does the U.S. Give to Israel?, Oct. 10, 2023

The New York Times, U.S. Reaches Deal With Iran to Free Americans for Jailed Iranians and Funds, Aug. 10, 2023

NBC News, Biden admin clears the way for prisoner swap deal with Iran, lifts freeze on $6 billion in Iranian funds, Sept. 11, 2023

U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Flowing Military Supplies to Israel, as Country Battles Hamas Terrorists, Oct. 10, 2023

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Joe Biden isn’t ‘funding every angle’ of Israel-Hamas war, as misleading post claims

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