Netanyahu's US trip to address Congress
War of words intensifies between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US officials ahead of his US trip.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The war of words between Benjamin Netanyahu and top Obama administration officials has intensified ahead of the Israeli Prime Minister's address to the US Congress.

Netanyahu said that the world powers, including the US, "have given up" their efforts to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

The unusual public spat escalated on Wednesday, 25 February when Netanyahu addressed a meeting of Likud Party members.

"From the agreement that is forming, it appears that they [world powers] have given up on that commitment [to halt Iran] and are accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few years, develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear weapons. They might accept this but I am not willing to accept this."

Netanyahu is set to address the US Congress at the invitation of the Republicans, angering the Democratic administration.

Responding to Netanyahu's latest comments casting suspicion on the P+1 powers, which are involved in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme, US Secretary of State John Kerry openly questioned the Israeli premier's judgment on the matter.

"He [Netanyahu] may have a judgment that just may not be correct here. The [US] president has made clear - I can't state this more firmly - the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon," Kerry told a Congressional hearing.

"Israel is safer today with the added time we have given and the stoppage of the advances in the nuclear program than they were before we got that agreement, which - by the way - the prime minister opposed. He was wrong."

Kerry's remarks are the latest in a series of responses from White House officials against Netanyahu's imminent address.

Earlier, in an interview with the PBS television, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice described Netanyahu's visit as "destructive" to US-Israel ties. Her remarks were later backed by the White House.