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Netanyahu to speak to the US Congress at the end of July

Following an invitation from leading Republicans and Democrats, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will deliver a speech to the US Congress on July 24. It is unclear whether he will also meet US President Biden.

After initial confusion, media reports and denials, the date has now been set: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give a speech to the US Congress on July 24. This was announced by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, and the Minority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, in a joint statement.

The visit offers Netanyahu the opportunity to explain the Israeli government's view “on defending its democracy, combating terrorism and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” it said.

Media had reported June date

Leading representatives of the Republicans and Democrats in the US Congress invited Netanyahu to Washington last week to speak at a joint session of Congress. This led to confusion about the date of the speech. US media reported that Netanyahu would come to Washington next week. His office confirmed the invitation, but denied the timely date to Israeli media.

“I am deeply moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both houses of Congress and to present to the representatives of the American people and the entire world the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us,” Netanyahu said through his office.

Netanyahu would be the first head of state in the world to speak before both houses of Congress for the fourth time, it was said.

Schumer accepts the invitation

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also joined in the invitation to Netanyahu. “I have clear and profound differences of opinion with the Prime Minister, which I have expressed and will continue to express both privately and publicly,” Schumer said in a separate statement. He added: “But because America's relationship with Israel is ironclad and goes beyond one person or one Prime Minister, I have joined in the request to let him speak.”

In March, Schumer called for a change of government in Israel in a sensational speech.

Tensions between Netanyahu and Biden

It remains unclear whether Israel's prime minister will also meet with US President Joe Biden during his visit to Washington. Although the US is a close ally of Israel, Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip sparked tensions between Biden and Netanyahu.

While Biden has consistently supported Israel's attack on Gaza in response to the October 7 terror attack, he has recently been critical of the country's tactics and has held back the delivery of some bombs.

Biden's support for Israel has also proven to be a political liability for the president ahead of the November election, with some Democrats and voters angry about the thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza. Republicans have also criticized Biden for his stance on the war, saying he is not doing enough to help Israel.

USA questions Israeli actions in Gaza Strip

The USA is also increasingly demanding explanations for Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip. In light of the air strike on a school building in the Gaza Strip in which 30 to 40 people were killed, Washington is demanding a full explanation. If Israel's army tries to kill 20 to 30 extremists, but children are killed in the process, then “that shows that something is wrong,” said a US State Department spokesman.

According to the Israeli army, 20 to 30 members of the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad were in three classrooms during the attack, planning and carrying out attacks from there. Initial findings indicate that many of the terrorists were killed. However, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA), the school building was used as emergency accommodation.

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