Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu set to address US Congress on July 24 amid frayed ties

Israeli PM Netanyahu confirmed to address Congress on July 24, facing potential protests due to ongoing political divisions.

Livemint
First Published7 Jun 2024, 09:06 AM IST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / POOL / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / POOL / AFP)(AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on July 24, AP reported, citing sources.

AP further reported that Congressional leaders extended a formal invitation to Netanyahu last week, showcasing continued support for the ally amidst ongoing political divisions regarding Israel's military actions against Hamas in Gaza.

Though the speech date was uncertain, it has now been confirmed for July 24, the source told AP.

Also Read: Israel, Hezbollah on brink of ‘full-scale war’; pressure on PM Netanyahu to secure border

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, along with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, signed the letter extending the invitation to Netanyahu. They said the offer was intended to “highlight America's solidarity with Israel.”

The political climate surrounding Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress is anticipated to be contentious, with potential protests both inside and outside the Capitol. The event will likely underscore the divisions within Congress, particularly among Democrats, regarding Netanyahu's handling of the conflict with Hamas.

Democratic lawmakers most critical of Netanyahu's strategy are expected to be no-shows for the address. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, said: “Netanyahu is a war criminal. I certainly will not attend.”

Netanyahu's visit to the Capitol also came after the relationship between US President Joe Biden and the leader of the Jewish state had been frayed in recent months.

Also Read: Biden Denies Netanyahu Playing Politics in War After Hinting It

Biden has privately and publicly criticized Netanyahu's handling of the war and criticized the Israeli government for not letting more humanitarian into Gaza.

Late last week, Biden announced a proposed agreement to end the fighting in Gaza, putting growing pressure on Netanyahu to accept the deal. Many Israelis have been urging him to embrace the terms, but his far-right allies have threatened to leave his coalition government if he does.

Netanyahu called a permanent cease-fire in Gaza a “nonstarter” until long-standing conditions for ending the war are met, appearing to undermine the proposal that Biden described as an Israeli one.

Also Read: 'Despite our utmost efforts...': Netanyahu calls Israeli strike in Rafah a 'tragic mistake' that killed 45 people

Johnson first suggested inviting the Israeli leader, saying it would be “a great honour of mine” to invite him. His move came soon after Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the US, delivered a stinging rebuke of Netanyahu in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor. Schumer said in the speech that Netanyahu had “lost his way” amid the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, AP reported.

Even so, Schumer had said he would join in the invitation because “our relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends any one prime minister or president.”

(With inputs from AP)

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First Published:7 Jun 2024, 09:06 AM IST
HomeNewsworldIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu set to address US Congress on July 24 amid frayed ties

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