Gaza War: Netanyahu accepts invitation to address Congress a fourth time

Majority and minority leaders jointly extended the invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week

MEE and agencies

Netanyahu will be first foreign leader to speak before both houses of congress four times, his office says (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted an invitation to address both houses of the US Congress, his office said on Saturday, adding that he would become the first foreign leader to make four such appearances there.

“I am moved by the privilege of representing Israel before both houses of Congress, and of presenting, to the representatives of the American people and the entire world, the truth about our righteous war against those who seek our destruction,” the statement quoted him as saying.

On Friday night, House Speaker Mike Johnson formally invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress, with the backing of all three of his fellow Congressional leaders.

In a letter signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries – the leaders jointly extended the invitation to Netanyahu, saying “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”.

Meanwhile, US Senator Bernie Sanders said that he will boycott the Israeli Prime Minister’s recently planned address to congress. 

“It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited – by leaders from both parties – to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress. Netanyahu is a war criminal. I certainly will not attend.”

The plans for the address come a day after US President Joe Biden announced a new US-led ceasefire proposal that would see Israeli captives and Palestinian prisoners released. 

Netanyahu said on Saturday that Hamas’s destruction was part of an Israeli plan presented by Biden to end the war on Gaza.

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.”

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