White House does not specify whether Biden will meet Netanyahu in Washington

By Jeff Mason

PARIS (Reuters) – The White House declined to say on Sunday whether the president Joe Biden will meet Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister travels to Washington next month to address the US Congress.

‘I have nothing to announce today,’ Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” adding that the two men were in regular communication.

“He comes to speak to Congress. The president talks to him all the time,” Sullivan said.

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

Biden, who is running for election in November, has been criticized for his support for Israel from his left-wing political base as the Palestinian death toll from the Israeli attack rises.

Sullivan said he hoped a ceasefire and hostage deal would be in place by the time Netanyahu comes to Washington. Hamas must simply say “yes” to the proposal presented, he said.

Biden, who returns to the United States from France later Sunday, welcomed Israeli forces’ rescue of four hostages held by Hamas and pledged to continue working until all hostages are freed and that a ceasefire be concluded.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by Timothy Heritage)

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