Bharat Express

US House Speaker Takes Steps To Invite Netanyahu To Address Congress

Netanyahu has delivered three consecutive joint sessions of Congress addresses, becoming the first foreign leader to do so, tied with Winston Churchill


Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Johnson

The Republican leader of the United States House of Representatives said on Tuesday that he was close to asking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address legislators, even if the Senate’s Democratic leader did not agree.

At the Capitol, House Speaker Mike Johnson said that he gave Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer until Tuesday to sign a letter asking Netanyahu to address a joint session.

“If not, we’re going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House”, Johnson continued.

Schumer confirmed that he was chatting with Johnson. “I’m currently discussing this with the Speaker of the House, and as I’ve always stated, our relationship with Israel is unbreakable. It goes beyond any single prime minister or president”, Schumer continued.

The potential schism between the two parties over the issue highlighted the politicization of Israel policy, months before the November presidential election, in which Democratic President Joe Biden is running against Republican former President Donald Trump.

Republicans have chastised Biden for delaying a weapons shipment to Israel, despite the fact that additional US armament supplies to the Middle Eastern country are still on their way.

Israel started its attack on Gaza after Hamas militants struck Israel in October, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping over 250 hostages.

The war has claimed the lives of over 35,000 Palestinians. Malnutrition is widespread, and much of the coastal enclave’s population has been displaced, with much of its infrastructure damaged.

Many of his Democratic colleagues, as well as college campuses around the country, have protested Biden’s handling of the war. Biden has pushed Netanyahu to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza and has opposed a large-scale attack on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

Netanyahu, who has long sided with US Republicans, addressed party members in the Senate via video link in March, roughly a week after Schumer delivered a Senate speech naming Netanyahu an obstacle to peace and calling for new Israeli elections.

Foreign leaders’ addresses to joint sessions of Congress are a rare honor, typically reserved for the closest US allies or prominent world figures. Netanyahu has already delivered similar addresses three times, the most recent in 2015.

That year, Republican congressional leaders invited Netanyahu to speak at a joint gathering without consulting Democratic President Barack Obama, as Netanyahu joined Republicans in opposing Obama’s international nuclear agreement with Iran.

Netanyahu would be the first foreign leader to address joint sessions of Congress four times. He is currently tied for third with Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime prime minister.

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