Israel PM Invited to Address US Congress Amid Gaza War

The congressional leaders said they extended the invitation to Mr. Netanyahu ’to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel.’

U.S. congressional leaders on Friday extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address lawmakers amidst Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

In a May 31 letter to Mr. Netanyahu, Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives said that the invitation was meant to “highlight America’s solidarity with Israel.”

“We join the state of Israel in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive and its leaders jeopardize regional stability,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers said they invited Mr. Netanyahu to share with Congress his government’s vision “for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region.”

“The existential challenges we face, including the growing partnership between Iran, Russia, and China, threaten the security, peace, and prosperity of our countries and of free people around the world,” the congressional leaders stated.

It did not specify the date for the Israeli leader’s speech.

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The letter was signed by four leaders—House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“I am honored to invite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress,” Mr. Johnson stated on X. He first announced the invitation on May 23.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 31, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 31, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
This comes months after Mr. Schumer—one of the leaders who signed the invitation—decried Mr. Netanyahu’s handling of the war and called for new elections in Israel.

Mr. Schumer, the first Jewish Senate majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the United States, said the Israeli leader had “lost his way” and become one of four “major obstacles” toward achieving peace in the region.

He condemned Mr. Netanyahu’s alliance with the far right of Israeli politics and said that his conduct in the war in Gaza is pushing international support for Israel to “historic lows.”

“Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah,” Mr. Schumer told the Senate on March 14.

Mr. Johnson has rebuked his comments, saying that Mr. Schumer’s call for fresh elections in Israel was “highly inappropriate.” Mr. Netanyahu also argued that holding elections would “paralyze” Israel for months.
The invitation also comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it was seeking arrest warrants for Mr. Netanyahu—along with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders—alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

Israel and the United States have rebuked the announcement. The Hamas terrorist group said in a May 20 statement that the ICC decided to “equate the victim with the executioner.”

The Netanyahu-led Israeli government is currently at war with Hamas which began after its terrorists infiltrated southern Israel and carried out widespread attacks on Oct. 7, 2023. More than 1,100 people were killed and 250 were taken hostage during the attack.

Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza has now resulted in more than 35,000 deaths, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health department. This number includes both combatants and civilians.

The last time Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress was in 2015 when he warned about the then-upcoming Iran nuclear deal, which he said he opposed because the United States and its allies gave Tehran sanctions relief while not adequately addressing its nuclear program and not dealing with Iran’s other activities, such as the regime’s leading support for terrorism.

A number of Democrats boycotted the 2015 address, and the Obama administration refused to meet with Mr. Netanyahu during his visit.

Jackson Richman and Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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