Netanyahu to address US Congress on July 24

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Netanyahu to address US Congress on July 24
Caption: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to the crowd during his address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, March 3, 2015. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.

JNS

The invitation "symbolizes the U.S. and Israel's enduring relationship," congressional leaders said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on July 24, congressional leaders announced on Thursday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) extended the invitation late last month, and now the date has been set.

In a statement published by McConnell's office on Thursday, the four men said the invitation "symbolizes the U.S. and Israel's enduring relationship and will offer Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government's vision for defending their democracy, combatting terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region."

Party leaders had sought to set the speech for June 13 but changed the date after learning that it was the second day of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in the Diaspora.

The speech will mark the fourth time the Israeli premier has addressed the U.S. governing bodies, the most of any foreign leader.

Netanyahu's last address, on March 3, 2015, sparked political controversy because the Republican House and Senate leaders issued the invitation without notifying Democratic leaders or the Obama administration.

The White House declined to say on Sunday whether President Joe Biden would meet Netanyahu during his visit to Washington.

"I don't have anything to announce today, and as you know, the schedulers run the White House, so I'm not in a position to be able to announce in advance visits like that, " U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS News' "Face the Nation" program.

"He's coming to address Congress. The president talks to him all the time, has a regular communication with him. Will continue to have a regular communication with him. And if we have anything to share on that front, we'll be sure to share," said Sullivan.

Biden said in an interview with Time published last week that "there is every reason" to believe that Netanyahu is prolonging the war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip for political reasons.

Asked whether the Jewish state had committed war crimes in Gaza, the president replied, "The answer is it's uncertain and has been investigated by the Israelis themselves."

"The ICC [International Criminal Court at The Hague] is something that we don't … recognize. But one thing is certain, the people in Gaza, the Palestinians, have suffered greatly, for lack of food, water, medicine, etc. And a lot of innocent people have been killed," Biden said.


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