Netanyahu to address US Congress on July 24

Image source, Getty Images

  • Author, Max Matza
  • Role, BBC News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address his American counterparts in Washington DC on July 24, congressional leaders announced Thursday.

He will speak before both houses of Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives – as the war between Israel and Gaza continues.

Both Republicans and Democrats invited the prime minister to speak, but the date of his speech was not made official until Thursday.

Last month, the International Criminal Court prosecutor requested arrest warrants for the Israeli leader and his Defense Minister, Yoav Galant, on war-related charges.

Mr. Netanyahu said, according to a statement released by congressional leaders, that he was “deeply moved to have the privilege of representing Israel…to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us.” .

In their letter of invitation to the prime minister, House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – both Republicans – said they hoped Mr Netanyahu would take the opportunity to ” share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, fighting terrorism and establishing a fair and just system. lasting peace in the region.

Mr Netanyahu’s visit comes as relations with the United States have become strained, particularly among America’s leading Democrats.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish, said in a separate statement that he supported the invitation despite his “clear and deep disagreements with the Prime Minister, on which I voted both privately and in public “.

“But because America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends a single person or a prime minister, I joined his request to speak,” he said.

US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has also become more critical of Israel as the war continues and the death toll in Gaza rises.

Mr. Biden, who is running for reelection in November, has come under political pressure from his party’s left wing to do more to convince Israel to limit its war in Gaza.

Some progressive leaders, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have said they intend to boycott Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to protest Israel’s conduct in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas-led fighters killed around 1,200 people and took 251 others hostage in an attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Since then, at least 36,470 people have been killed in Gaza during nearly eight months of fighting, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Mr. Biden recently made public his administration’s push for a ceasefire agreement that would mark the start of a six-week cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

The three-part plan that the president unveiled last week calls for an “increase” in humanitarian aid, as well as an exchange of some hostages for Palestinian prisoners before a definitive end to the war.

The proposal, however, faced strong opposition from some members of the Israeli government, raising doubts about whether an agreement could be reached.

Hanoch Milwidsky, a senior Knesset official from Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party, told the BBC on Sunday that Israel’s governing coalition was unified in its opposition to the deal, which he called “totally unacceptable.”

Mr Netanyahu last addressed the US Congress in 2015, when both chambers were controlled by Republicans. He used the opportunity to criticize then-Democratic President Barack Obama for striking a deal with U.S. allies and Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Leave a Comment