Biden admin. fears Netanyahu’s visit: Report

The White House is reportedly getting increasingly concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could use his upcoming speech at the US Congress to publicly criticize US President Joe Biden and his administration’s response to Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of the US Congress next month, and “no one knows what he’s going to say”, an unnamed US official told Politico on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the Israeli leader posted a video accusing Washington of “withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel” for several months, calling such behavior “inconceivable”. Netanyahu further defended publicly venting his grudge as “absolutely necessary after months of quiet conversation that did not solve the problem”, in an interview published Friday.

The latest criticism “was not helpful at all”, and Netanyahu “could make it far worse up there in front of Congress”, another senior official reportedly said. Politico further noted that the speech could create a “diplomatically complicated and politically dicey spectacle for a president running for reelection”.

Biden has yet to officially invite Netanyahu to the White House during his visit, but officials who spoke with Politico noted that a face-to-face meeting is likely to take place, since refusing would be a major slap in the face.

The White House is concerned that Netanyahu’s rhetoric is deepening the rift between the two allies, according to Axios. While US officials have publicly stated that they “do not know what [Netanyahu] is talking about”, privately, Biden’s team was reportedly “angry and shocked” at the Israeli prime minister’s “ingratitude”, with some officials even describing him as “unhinged”.

The US paused delivery of some 3,500 bombs to Israel in early May amid calls for it to scale back its assault on the densely-populated city of Rafah in southern Gaza. However, despite Biden’s public warnings he would halt arms shipments, the US had reportedly kept the majority of other weapons and ammunition flowing. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US proceeded with a transfer of $1 billion worth of arms for Israel in May, the same month it stopped the delivery of bombs.

Israel declared war on Hamas after fighters killed around 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostage in a surprise attack on October 7. More than 37,500 Palestinians have been killed in the months of fighting that have followed, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Last week, CBS News reported that Washington was growing “increasingly concerned” over the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a larger Middle East conflict involving Hezbollah and potentially American troops.

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