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Netanyahu Invited to Address Both Houses of Congress on July 24

Netanyahu Invited to Address Both Houses of Congress on July 24
Palestinians inspect the damage to a school complex for displaced Palestinians, operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), following an Israeli strike at the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. The Israeli military said it conducted an airstrike on a Hamas compound embedded in a school complex in Gaza that eliminated militants who took part in the deadly Oct. 7 attack against Israeli civilians. Photographer: Ahmad Salem/Bloomberg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted an invitation to address a joint meeting of the US House and Senate on July 24, House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office announced on Thursday night. 

“The bipartisan, bicameral meeting symbolizes the US and Israel’s enduring relationship and will offer Prime Minister Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy, combating terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region,” according to a statement from Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond on Thursday night to a request for confirmation that the July 24 date had been accepted.

The invitation was signed by Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

Netanyahu faces intense criticism over the civilian death toll in the war in Gaza, which has caused divisions among US lawmakers and led to public disagreements with President Joe Biden.

Earlier: Biden Bid to End Gaza War Falters as Israel, Hamas Push Back

Even as fellow Democrats have intensified their demands for a cease-fire and an end to the conflict, the American president has remained steadfast in his support of Israel since last October’s deadly assault by Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union. Both Israel and Hamas have balked at Biden’s latest peace proposal.

In an interview with Time magazine published this week, Biden hinted that Netanyahu might be dragging out the war in order to cling to power. The president later told reporters that he didn’t think that was the case.

Some Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, have said they would boycott the address.

This would be the prime minister’s fourth speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the first foreign leader to do so that many times. According to the US House website, Winston Churchill was the only other foreign leader to address the House and Senate three times.

In 2015, Netanyahu used one of those addresses to denounce the Iran nuclear accord, angering the Obama administration.

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