Monday, June 17, 2024

Johnson Says Netanyahu Will Address Joint Session of US Congress Soon

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Address Joint Meeting of Congress Amid Tensions with Biden

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address a joint meeting of Congress in a move that has sparked controversy and raised tensions with President Joe Biden. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson made the announcement at the Israeli embassy’s annual Independence Day reception, signaling strong support for Israel during a critical time.

Progressive Democrats, already critical of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, are sure to be further angered by this development. The speech comes amidst strains between Biden and Netanyahu over the U.S. push for more protection of Palestinian civilians in the conflict with Hamas.

The event also featured a speech by Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar, who reinforced U.S. support for Israel. The decision to invite Netanyahu to Congress is seen as a significant gesture of support for Israel, Washington’s top Middle East ally.

The absence of a senior Biden aide from the speakers’ list at the event was notable, especially as it coincided with a White House state dinner for Kenyan President William Ruto. The Israeli embassy expressed gratitude for congressional approval of new U.S. military aid to Israel and sought to honor lawmakers in a bipartisan manner.

Despite the diplomatic tensions, the reception highlighted the strong ties between the U.S. and Israel, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas having spoken at previous gatherings. The upcoming address by Netanyahu is expected to further intensify the debate over U.S. policy towards Israel and the conflict in Gaza.

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