Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts invitation to address joint meeting of Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted an invitation from US congressional leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress, his office said in a statement Saturday.

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

The top four US congressional leaders on Friday formally invited Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress.

“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,” the letter from House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reads.

“For this reason, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, we would like to invite you to address a Joint Meeting of Congress.”

The letter, which does not provide a date for the address, is signed by the top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

The invitation comes after much speculation as additional military aid to Israel remains in question and Democrats are facing pressure from their left wing as the party remains divided over Israel’s handling of the war against Hamas.

President Joe Biden on Friday laid out a three-phase proposal Israel has submitted to wind down the grinding crisis in Gaza.

Claiming that “Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another October 7,” Biden made the argument that Israel has met its stated goals for its operation in Gaza and that the time has arrived to stop the fighting as part of a deal to release Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Less than an hour after Biden detailed the Israeli proposal, Netanyahu’s office insisted Israel would not end the war until Hamas is defeated and “all of its goals are achieved.”

CNN previously reported that during a closed-door conference meeting in March, House Republicans raised the idea of inviting Netanyahu. Following the meeting, Johnson told reporters that “it’s one of the things that we have in mind,” adding that “it’s very important for us to show solidarity and support for Israel right now.”

This story and headline have been updated with new information.

CNN’s Kaanita Iyer, Haley Talbot, Melanie Zanona, Clare Foran, Kevin Liptak, Nikki Carvajal and Samantha Waldenberg contributed to this report.

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