Matt Gaetz
U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz AFP

U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz has introduced a bill aimed at imposing a moratorium on immigration from the Palestinian Authority for two years, according to a Floridian Press report.

The initiative, which comes as the war between Israel and Hamas continues, would deny visas and entry at the border to anyone holding such a passport during that period.

In justifying the Guarding American Zones Against Palestinian Immigration Act, Gaetz said that Jordan and Egypt repeatedly refuse to take in refugees for years.

"If Palestinian refugees are too dangerous for our allies in the region, they are certainly too dangerous for the United States. The Biden administration's border policies have already exacerbated national security concerns across our country," he said.

"A two-year moratorium on all immigration from Palestine is a common-sense measure to ensure the safety and security of the American people. We must prioritize the protection of our nation and its citizens above all else," he added.

Republicans have closed ranks in their staunch support of the Israeli government and the condemnation of Hamas, in contrast with Democrats' diverse stances on the issue. In fact, Republican party leaders announced on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address U.S. lawmakers on July 24.

Netanyahu's visit "symbolizes the US and Israel's enduring relationship and will offer... Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government's vision for defending their democracy, combating terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region," House Speaker Mike Johnson and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

Even though the invitation was extended by Democratic leaders as well, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called in March for Israel to hold elections, a rare case of public criticism from a senior official over the war in Gaza.

In a statement Thursday evening, Schumer said he invited Netanyahu to speak despite "clear and profound disagreements... because America's relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister."

The rebuke from Schumer, the highest-ranking elected Jewish American in history, came amid expressions of dismay from progressive Democrats who have condemned Netanyahu over his handling of the military response and vowed to snub the right-wing leader's speech.

American, Qatari and Egyptian mediators have resumed talks aimed at securing a truce and hostage-prisoner swap in the nearly eight-month war.

But the nation has faced a mounting diplomatic chill, with international court cases accusing it of war crimes and several European countries recognizing a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu also faces turmoil at home, with regular protests against the war and the expected resignation of a member of his war cabinet, Benny Gantz, over his handling of the war and future plans for the Gaza strip.

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