Israel’s Netanyahu to address joint session of Congress in July

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on July 24, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Thursday in a statement posted on social media.

A formal invitation was extended to Netanyahu last week by a bipartisan group of lawmakers looking to “build on our enduring relationship and to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel.”

“The existential challenges we face, including the growing partnership between Iran, Russia, and China, threaten the security, peace, and prosperity of our countries and of free people around the world,” wrote Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

In response, Netanyahu said that he was “very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress.”

While U.S. support for Israel has long been bipartisan, that unity has been frayed by Netanyahu’s tendency to align with the Republican Party, a dynamic accelerated by the war in Gaza. This new divide is evident in angry protests on college campuses and Democratic debates, marking a fundamental shift in U.S. politics.

“We look forward to hearing the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” Johnson said on X.


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Schumer said in an emailed statement that he agreed to the visit despite having “clear and profound disagreements” with the Israeli leader “because America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who previously said he would boycott any Netanyahu speech to Congress, said Thursday that Netanyahu should not have been honored with the invitation.

At least 33 people inside a U.N. school in the central Gaza Strip were killed Thursday by an Israeli airstrike using a U.S.-made munition. The dead included nine children, the Associated Press reported. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman, told reporters that 20 to 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters were operating from a compound inside the school. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, wrote on X that the school had been sheltering 6,000 displaced people when it was hit “without prior warning to the displaced.”

It will cost at least $22 million to repair the pier built off Gaza’s coast by the U.S. military, according to two Pentagon officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military plans. Aid deliveries using the pier immediately faced obstacles when they began last month and were suspended May 28 after a number of severe setbacks, as well as bad weather.

At least ​​36,654 people have been killed and 83,309 injured in Gaza since the war started, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, including more than 300 soldiers. It says 294 soldiers have been killed since the launch of its military operations in Gaza.

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