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Israel’s Netanyahu to address US Congress soon, Johnson says

Republican US House Speaker Mike Johnson mentioned on Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would quickly address a joint assembly of Congress amid heightened pressure with President Joe Biden over the Israeli chief’s dealing with of the battle in Gaza.

Delivering a keynote speech on the Israeli embassy’s annual Independence Day reception, Johnson, the highest congressional Republican and a critic of the Democratic president’s Israel coverage, mentioned it might be “a strong show of support for the Israeli government in their time of greatest need.”

Such a speech is bound to additional anger progressive Democrats crucial of Israel’s navy marketing campaign in Gaza and Biden’s help for it. Netanyahu has intently aligned himself with Republicans.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would soon address a joint meeting of Congress amid heightened tension with President Joe Biden over the Israeli leader's handling of the war in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint assembly of Congress amid heightened pressure with President Joe Biden over the Israeli chief’s dealing with of the battle in Gaza. REUTERS

The diplomatic gathering in Washington comes amid strains between Biden and Netanyahu over a US push for Israel to do extra to shield Palestinian civilians within the battle in opposition to Hamas militants in Gaza.

The embassy gave equal billing to Democratic US Representative Pete Aguilar, who shared the high-profile platform with Johnson at a extra subdued occasion underneath the shadow of the Gaza battle.

“As Americans, we reaffirm our commitment to Israel’s sovereignty,” he mentioned.

Speaking first, Johnson mentioned to applause: “Tonight I’m happy to announce … we will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress.”

Successive US administrations have often despatched a high-level official to the Independence Day receptions.

Republican US House Speaker Mike Johnson said on Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would soon address a joint meeting of Congress
House Speaker Mike Johnson mentioned on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would quickly address a joint congressional assembly. AP

Vice President Kamala Harris, who in current months has known as the state of affairs in Gaza a “humanitarian catastrophe” and has urged a ceasefire, delivered final 12 months’s keynote, largely extolling US backing for Israel.

An Israeli official mentioned this 12 months the embassy needed to honor lawmakers in a bipartisan means in appreciation for congressional approval of billions of {dollars} in new US navy help.

The reception befell on the identical evening as a White House state dinner for Kenyan President William Ruto, which the Israeli official mentioned created a scheduling battle for cupboard members.

President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference with William Ruto, Kenya's president, not pictured, during a state visit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, May 23, 2024.
President Biden speaks at a information convention with William Ruto, Kenya’s president, not pictured, throughout a state go to within the East Room of the White House on May 23, 2024. Pool/ABACA/Shutterstock

Several much less senior Biden aides had been in attendance, together with Derek Chollet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s counselor.

The White House declined remark when requested whether or not it was consulted concerning the invitation to Netanyahu or whether or not Biden, who has denied an Oval Office assembly to the Israeli chief, may see him in Washington.

JOHNSON’S VEILED SWIPE AT BIDEN

Johnson and Aguilar each condemned the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s choice this week to search arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his protection chief, Yoav Gallant.

The prosecutor additionally requested for warrants to seize Hamas leaders chargeable for the lethal Oct. 7 cross-border assault on Israel, which triggered the Gaza battle.

ohnson did not specify a date for Netanyahu's speech.
Johnson didn’t specify a date for Netanyahu’s speech. AP

Johnson took a veiled swipe at Biden, saying “some leaders” have sought to withhold “vital weapons” from Israel.

Biden has paused one cargo of bombs and warned he may delay others if Netanyahu carries out an all-out floor offensive within the refugee-packed metropolis of Rafah in southern Gaza. But the circulate of weapons has largely continued.

Security was tight across the National Building Museum the place the reception was held. A small group of pro-Palestinian protesters shouted “shame on you” at visitors exiting the occasion.

One individual held an Israeli flag stained purple to simulate blood. Another on a megaphone accused Israel of battle crimes.

Reinforcements from Israeli military vehicles storm the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank during a military operation in search of Palestinian militants from the Jenin Brigade.
Reinforcements from Israeli navy automobiles stormed the Jenin refugee camp within the northern West Bank throughout a navy operation in the hunt for Palestinian militants from the Jenin Brigade on May 8, 2024. Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

On Tuesday, Johnson mentioned he was shut to inviting Netanyahu, a right-wing chief who had heat relations with former President Donald Trump.

Johnson, a Trump ally, had issued Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer an ultimatum to signal a letter inviting Netanyahu or else he would solely communicate to the House of Representatives.

Schumer had signaled he was open to Congress internet hosting Netanyahu, regardless of declaring in March that the Israeli chief had “lost his way” and calling for brand new elections in Israel.

Johnson didn’t specify a date for Netanyahu’s speech.

Addresses to Congress are a uncommon honor typically reserved for the closest US allies.

Netanyahu has already given three speeches, most not too long ago in 2015.

That 12 months, Republican leaders invited him with out consulting Democratic then-President Barack Obama, as Netanyahu joined them in an unsuccessful bid to derail Obama’s worldwide nuclear cope with Iran.

Palestinians are grabbing aid from a truck that is being delivered into Gaza through a U.S.-built pier, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from central Gaza Strip, on May 18, 2024.
Palestinians are grabbing help from a truck that’s being delivered into Gaza by means of a US-built pier amid the continuing battle between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, on May 18, 2024. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Dozens of Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s final speech, elevating the prospect that some may keep away this time.

Johnson, struggling to maintain his fractious Republican House majority intact, has been a outstanding voice within the US political divide over Israeli coverage.

Politicization of the problem has intensified forward of the November election through which Biden is operating in opposition to Trump.

In distinction to previous years’ gala celebrations, this 12 months’s reception, marking the 76th anniversary of Israel’s founding, was billed as a “solidarity event.”

Israel is preventing to wipe out Hamas militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 folks and seizing 253 hostages, in accordance to Israeli tallies.

Palestinian authorities say greater than 35,000 folks have been killed throughout Israel’s marketing campaign in Gaza.

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