Coons says he hopes Netanyahu will speak about plans for peace in address to Congress

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Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he hopes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss what his plans are for peace in Israel’s war with Hamas in his address to Congress next month.

“Boy, I sure hope not,” Coons said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if Netanyahu will deliver an election rally against President Biden in his address to Congress.

“But Prime Minister Netanyahu has a long record of being very partisan and very divisive for decades, Margaret. The strong bipartisan support for Israel, for its security, has been a hallmark of our close alliance. But I’ll remind you Prime Minister Netanyahu isn’t just divisive here. He’s divisive at home for months and months before the October 7 attacks,” he added.

Netanyahu will address a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced last week. The scheduled address comes as many Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have been critical of Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza.

Schumer said that while he joined the other congressional leaders in requesting that Netanyahu come speak, he still has “clear and profound disagreements” with the Israeli leader. This will be Netanyahu’s fourth time addressing a joint session of Congress, following visits to the U.S. in 2015, 2011, and 1996.

Coons suggested Netanyahu should speak about a path forward in his speech next month.

“Our President Joe Biden has been leading a strong effort to try and secure a hostage release and a ceasefire. It’s been embraced by all of our close allies in the G7. And it’s my hope that that can still be accomplished. But frankly, if Netanyahu isn’t coming to speak to Congress, about his plan for securing peace, his plan for the path forward, I don’t know why we would go,” he said.

He said Netanyahu “has a chance to show that he will be a real leader, not just a partisan leader, but someone who will try and secure peace and stability for Israel.”

“It’s my hope that that’s what will happen, and that that’s why Senator Schumer agreed to invite him to speak to a joint session of Congress,” he added.

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