Senators head to Israel for planned meeting with Netanyahu

Senators head to Israel for planned meeting with Netanyahu

Several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are headed to the Middle East this week, including a planned meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters on Tuesday.

The New York Democrat said she has two goals for the trip: Find out how much of a threat Hamas still is and what it will take to eventually end the war started by the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. She said “at least four colleagues” will be joining her and it will be a bipartisan group, with plans to leave on Tuesday evening and return on Monday as Senate session resumes.

“The reason why several codels (congressional delegations) are going to the Middle East right now is because we are talking to our allies and partners about what that path to peace would look like, and what the next few months holds. It’s essential that we defeat terrorism in the region. But it’s very, very helpful if we have allies helping us defeat terrorism,” Gillibrand said.

She suggested that building on the Abraham Accords, an agreement struck in 2020 to allow diplomatic relations between Israel and certain Arab countries, would create more partners to defeat Iran and its allies in the Middle East. And then “you’d have the outlines of a path to peace and an ability to rebuild a second state a Palestinian state.”

Also hanging over it all: The Senate’s work on a supplemental bill that would send billions more in aid to Israel. Theoretically, lawmakers want it to hitch a ride along with Ukraine, Taiwan and border security provisions. Gillibrand said she has “faith in our negotiators. So I’m not losing hope that we could have a four-corner deal.”

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