Republican John Boehner, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a staunch supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will lead a congressional delegation to Israel late this month, the lawmaker’s office said.
“The speaker will visit Israel during the next district work period,” his representative told VOA. “He looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel.”
The date of Boehner's visit with a congressional delegation has not been set but it will occur this month.
The trip was planned long before Tuesday’s election in Israel, in which Netanyahu decisively won a fourth term after lagging in the polls, the representative said, adding that planning also predated Netanyahu’s controversial March 3 speech to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.
In that speech, Netanyahu criticized the efforts by the administration, working with international partners, to strike a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program.
Arrangements were made without informing the White House, and Netanyahu used the speech to criticize the Obama administration's efforts to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
This week, the prime minister further infuriated the White House and other Western allies by saying he would not support a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian conflict. He has since backtracked on the rhetoric, saying on U.S. television on Thursday that he would support a Palestinian state when the conditions were right.
Boehner’s representative, who declined to be identified, said the speaker anticipated strengthening U.S.-Israeli ties and discussing “issues of mutual interest.”
Boehner has visited Israel several times, most recently in 2008.
Some material for this report came from Reuters