May 21, 2024 12:47 pm
Netanyahu cancels Israeli delegation to US over abstention on Gaza ceasefire at UN

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has canceled a visit to Washington by two of his closest advisors following the United States’ abstention in a UN Security Council vote that allowed the approval of the first ceasefire resolution in Gaza in almost six months of war. Netanyahu’s office criticized the abstention, stating that it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will force Israel to accept a ceasefire without the release of hostages, thus undermining efforts both in war and to free the hostages.

The delegation that was canceled was led by National Security Advisor Tzaji Hanegbi and Minister of Strategic Affairs and former ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. Both were part of Netanyahu’s inner circle and were scheduled to travel to Washington to explore alternatives to invading Rafah in southern Gaza. The cancellation came after a phone conversation between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden in which they disagreed on the need for an invasion of Rafah to end Hamas.

The decision does not affect another visit to Washington by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who is expected to meet with US defense officials to discuss alternatives for defeating Hamas that do not have major consequences for civilians as a new large-scale military operation in Rafah would. Gallant will also discuss arms deliveries from the United States and Israel’s qualitative military advantage.

The Biden Administration is opposed to a major ground operation in Rafah, stating that it would cause more deaths among innocent civilians, worsen the humanitarian crisis, and isolate Israel internationally. Instead, Washington has proposed alternative approaches to target key Hamas elements in Rafah without escalating conflict. Netanyahu’s decision reflects growing tensions between Israel and its closest ally over how best to address Gaza’s ongoing conflict.

The White House is concerned about the impact of a major military operation on civilians in Gaza and regional stability, as well as its implications for international relations. Biden and Netanyahu have expressed differing views on how best

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