Israel’s Netanyahu says ‘thrilled’ to address US congress

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 6/2/2024 8:08:14 AM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday he was “thrilled” to accept an invitation to address the US Congress, where he plans to “present the truth” about the Gaza war.

Democratic and Republican leaders had invited Netanyahu to speak before a joint meeting of Congress, House Speaker Mike Johnson said Friday.

In a statement issued by his office, Netanyahu said: “I am thrilled by the privilege to represent Israel before both houses of Congress and to present the truth about our just war against those who are looking to take our lives.”

No date has been announced for Netanyahu’s address, but US media reported that it is expected to take place just before or soon after US lawmakers’ August recess.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that Israel had offered a new roadmap towards a ceasefire in its war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

The war was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,379 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Friday’s announcement was the first invitation for Netanyahu, who had appeared before Congress in the past, to do so since he began his latest term as prime minister in late 2022.

The premier has yet to be invited to the White House since then.

Before the Gaza war broke out, tensions between the close allies had risen over Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reform plan that triggered a wave of protests against his government.

Biden said last year he was “very concerned” over the proposed reforms.

Shining BD