House Speaker Mike Johnson extends invite to Benjamin Netanyahu despite threat of arrest warrant

Washington DC- Benjamin Netanyahu will soon address Congress, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson announced Thursday, despite expectations that the International Criminal Court will issue an arrest warrant for the Israeli prime minister accused of war crimes.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will "soon" be addressing lawmakers in Congress.
House Speaker Mike Johnson said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will "soon" be addressing lawmakers in Congress.  © Collage: REUTERS

"We will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress," Johnson said, adding that the visit would mark "a very strong show of support to the Israeli government."

The invitation comes after a double setback suffered by Israel this week. Ireland, Norway, and Spain recognized a Palestinian state, while the chief prosecutor of ICC said he would seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu, as well as Hamas leaders, over alleged war crimes committed since October 7.

The US has been a resolute supporter of Israel's onslaught on Gaza since last year's attack by Hamas militants. The Biden administration has gone above and beyond to arm its ally and shield it from any international pressure to halt the bloody assault, even as it veers into what a growing number of experts, human rights organizations, and states view as a genocide against the Palestinian people.

World Refugee Day: Lawmakers urge Biden administration to open pathway for Palestinians
Israel-Gaza War World Refugee Day: Lawmakers urge Biden administration to open pathway for Palestinians

In public, Biden has recently threatened to halt some weapon supplies if Israel goes ahead with a full-blown invasion of the city of Rafah, where over 1.2 millions people were sheltering. That operation has since gone ahead, causing hundreds of deaths and even more mass displacement, with no consequences for Israel.

That hasn't stopped Republicans from assailing Biden over his mild criticism, with Johnson accusing Biden of "carrying water" for Hamas.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders responded to Johnson's announcement by calling it a "terrible idea" and said Netanyahu was responsible for creating "the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history."

The Israeli prime minister also has a dismal approval rating at home, where he is subject to almost daily protests due to his handling of the war and the effort to return hostages taken on October 7.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

More on Israel-Gaza War: