John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to speak to Senate Republicans via video.

"The Prime Minister can decide for himself who he wants to talk to and how he wants to handle that," Kirby told reporters.

"But I do think it's important to remember that support for Israel, for Israel's sovereignty, for Israel's security, for the Israeli people has been a long-standing bipartisan issue in this country going back multiple administrations, back to Harry Truman. It's indicative of the broad support that the Israeli people know they can count on from the American people. And it's important that that support stay bipartisan," he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke to the Republican lawmakers via videolink during their regular lunch meeting. Netanyahu was slated to talk with Republicans during their policy retreat last week, but that plan fell through.

Senators who took part in the meeting told reporters that Netanyahu had made clear that Israel will continue its efforts to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Wednesday that Netanyahu had also requested to address Senate Democrats at their caucus lunch, but was denied by Schumer.

A spokesperson for the Democratic Senator told Axios that the request was declined because Schumer "does not think these discussions should happen in a partisan manner."

Schumer last week gave a speech branding Netanyahu an obstacle to peace and urging new elections in Israel.

In his press briefing, Kirby was also asked about Canada's decision to halt arms exports to Israel and said that he is "not aware of any conversations that we've had with Canada about this. This is their decision to make as a sovereign country. We certainly respect that."