White House declines to say whether Biden will meet Netanyahu on Washington visit

File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)
File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)

The White House declines to say whether US President Joe Biden will meet Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits Washington next month to address the US Congress.

“I don’t have anything to announce today,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan says in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding the two men were in regular communication.

“He’s coming to address the Congress. The president talks to him all the time,” Sullivan says.

Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on July 24. Biden has been a staunch supporter of Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza, but there have been tensions between the two men over how Israel is conducting the war.

Biden, who is running for reelection in November, has faced criticism over his support for Israel from his left-leaning political base as the Palestinian death toll mounts from Israel’s assault.

Sullivan says he hopes a ceasefire and hostage deal will be in place by the time Netanyahu comes to Washington. Hamas must simply say “yes” to the proposal on the table, he says.

Biden, who returns to the United States from France later today, has welcomed the rescue by Israeli forces of four hostages held by Hamas and vowed to keep working until all hostages were released and a ceasefire achieved.

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