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‘Give as fast as you can’ – Netanyahu presses US Congress on military aid

An AIPAC-organized meeting came after a phone call with the American president

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives to reject Palestinian statehood and give West Jerusalem more weapons for a quick victory in Gaza.

Netanyahu met with a 15-member congressional delegation on Thursday evening, shortly after a 45-minute phone call with US President Joe Biden. His office did not release a readout of the call, choosing to post Netanyahu’s remarks from the AIPAC-organized event instead.

“Our battle is your battle. Our victory is your victory. And if we don’t have a victory, this will have enormous implications for American security, for our common future. So we must win,” Netanyahu told the members of Congress.

He assured them that Israel was “absolutely” going to win and that victory was “within reach” and “very close,” but could be “made quicker” with more aid.

“Give us the tools faster and we’ll finish the job faster. I’m talking about the supplemental,” Netanyahu said, referring to the $17.6 billion worth of military aid pending in the House. “I hope you find a way to give it as fast as you can.”

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The Israeli prime minister also told US lawmakers that the Knesset had voted 99 to 9 to reject “an attempt to force, ram down our throats a Palestinian state,” which he described as “another terror haven” like Gaza.

“Do you have those kinds of numbers? I think you might have those numbers if you bring that same resolution, that same resolution to the Congress,” he said. Republicans currently have a razor-thin majority in the 435-member House, with 218 seats to the Democrats’ 213.

Netanyahu made no reference to Biden’s demand for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza or “specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers,” as the US readout of Thursday’s phone call phrased it.

According to the White House readout, Biden “made clear” to Netanyahu that “US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps.”

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Iran promises Israel ‘slap in the face’

Earlier this week, an Israeli strike killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza. The group was founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, a long-time Democrat and personal friend of Biden. Unnamed US officials told Axios they expected the call to be “tense” because Biden was “pissed” and “outraged” about the incident.

However, the US president also told Netanyahu that Washington “strongly supports Israel” against “public Iranian threats against Israel and the Israeli people.”

Tehran had vowed retaliation after Monday’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, which killed seven Iranian officers, including two IRGC generals.

 

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