Speaker Johnson plans to invite Israel's Netanyahu to meet with Congress sooner rather than later

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Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson is set to extend a formal invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress amid the country's war with the terrorist group Hamas.

The Louisiana Republican is expected to send out the invitation sometime in the next eight weeks. If this does not happen within that time frame, the Israeli prime minister could be invited to speak after the August recess in September, a senior Johnson spokesman said. The timeline for the invitation was first reported by Punchbowl News.

Johnson's office said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has agreed to Netanyahu's joint speech despite his recent call for new elections in Israel during the war and pressure from the Democrats' left flank to oppose it .

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Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson, inserted left, prepares to formally invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, inserted right, to speak before a joint session of Congress, despite President Biden's public rifts with the country . (Getty Images)

When Schumer was previously asked about the possibility, he told reporters: “Look, I'm discussing that now with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and as I've always said, our relationship with Israel is rock-solid and transcends any Prime Minister or President. “

This comes as Democrats and the Biden administration itself continue to publicly break with Israel, with the White House recently speaking out against a bipartisan effort to sanction the International Criminal Court over arrest warrants against Netanyahu and another Israeli official.

“The United States has said that in fact it would support the sanctions bill,” Netanyahu told host Morgan Ortagus on her Sirius XM show, which airs Sunday, as Politico first reported. “I thought this was still the American position because just a few days ago there was a bipartisan consensus.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was surprised and disappointed by the White House's position on the ICC sanctions. (Abir Sultan/swimming pool photo via AP, file)

The Israeli Prime Minister said: “Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed” in President Biden.

The stance against bipartisan sanctions against the ICC is the latest public rift the administration has had with Israel.

While the White House said it had rejected the ICC's decision and did not believe it had jurisdiction, “we do not believe that sanctions against the ICC are the appropriate approach here, no,” said National Security Council coordinator John Kirby.

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Biden and Netanyahu

President Biden (right) previously warned Israel against certain actions in Rafah. ((Fox News/Getty Images))

Israel has come under renewed scrutiny for its actions in Rafah, a southern city along the Gaza Strip. The country has launched attacks on senior Hamas leaders in the area, causing significant civilian casualties. The move has angered activists and lawmakers who have already been critical of the country's actions in Gaza.

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Smoke rises from Rafah

Smoke rises after Israeli attacks during an Israeli military operation in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, May 28, 2024. (REUTERS/Hatem Khaled)

Biden had sent a clear message to Israel not to proceed with an offensive in Rafah, even claiming: “I have made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they have not been in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I'll don't deliver the weapons that have historically been used to tackle Rafah, to tackle the cities – that are tackling that problem,” in a recent interview on CNN.

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However, the government has suggested that the red line set by the president was not violated by Israel's latest actions in Rafah. “As a result of this strike on Sunday, I have no policy changes to speak to,” Kirby told reporters after the strike.

Neither the White House nor Schumer's office immediately provided comment to Fox News Digital.

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