PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress (Video clip)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has denied American media reports claiming he will address the US Congress on June 13, amid mounting pressure to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas.

According to Netanyahu's office, the date of his speech to Congress has "not been finalized." They confirmed that it would not be on June 13 as previously reported by Punchbowl News and Politico, citing a conflict with a Jewish holiday.

Speculation about Netanyahu's visit to the US comes as he faces intense criticism over the perceived civilian death toll in the Gaza conflict, exacerbating tensions with President Joe Biden's administration. Despite evidence of Hamas's use of disinformation and their leadership's open admission of it being a strategy, many mainstream media outlets still reference death tolls provided by Hamas.

Last month, the United Nations revised their estimates of civilian deaths in Gaza downward, emphasizing that the numbers provided by Hamas's Ministry of Health are unreliable. The UN's revision significantly reduced the reported number of children and women killed, two groups frequently highlighted by Hamas supporters to fuel anti-Israel sentiment.

On Friday, President Biden outlined what he portrayed as an Israeli three-phase plan aimed at ending the conflict, freeing all hostages, and reconstructing the Gaza Strip without Hamas's control.  Israeli sources claimed the deal Biden put forth was not what Israel had agreed to, albeit elements of the proposal were a part of the Israeli offer.

Netanyahu's office emphasized that the war, sparked by the October 7 attack, would continue until all of Israel's "goals are achieved," including dismantling Hamas's military and governing capabilities.

Last week, the four party leaders in the House and Senate invited Netanyahu to speak before a joint meeting of Congress, expressing solidarity with Israel "in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive."

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a rare example of strident criticism from a senior American official, called in March for Israel to hold new elections, criticizing the country's handling of the war in Gaza. Schumer's rebuke, significant as he is the highest-ranking elected Jewish American in history, echoed the White House's concerns over the death toll in the conflict.

Progressive politicians, including Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with the Democrats, have condemned Netanyahu's military response and vowed to boycott any speech by the right-wing leader in the United States. Sanders described Netanyahu as a "war criminal" and criticized both parties for inviting him to address Congress.

"It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited by leaders from both parties to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress," Sanders said in a weekend statement. He acknowledged Israel's right to defend itself against the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack but asserted that Israel does not have the right to wage war against the entire Palestinian population.

The conflict erupted when Hamas militants attacked Israel, resulting in 1,200 deaths, mostly civilians, and over 5,000 injuries. As of now, there has been no official comment from U.S. representatives regarding the potential speech by Netanyahu.

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