Diplomatic Rift Deepens: Netanyahu Cancels Talks Wth Biden After UN Calls For Ceasefire

By Tommy Wilson | Tuesday, 26 March 2024 08:30 PM
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In a significant development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a scheduled meeting with the Biden administration on Monday.

The decision came in response to the United States' abstention from vetoing a United Nations (U.N.) resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Israeli delegation was set to meet with Biden administration officials in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss Israel's ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza. However, Netanyahu's office announced the cancellation of the meeting after the U.S. refrained from vetoing the U.N. resolution, marking a departure from its previous stance since the war began on October 7.

Netanyahu's office expressed its disappointment to The Jewish Insider, stating, "The U.S. retreated from its consistent stance in the Security Council that only a few days ago tied a ceasefire to the release of the hostages. This retreat hurts the war effort as well as the effort to free the hostages because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without freeing our hostages."

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The U.S. decision to allow the U.N. resolution to pass was defended by Biden administration officials. They argued that the resolution did condition a ceasefire on the immediate release of the hostages, albeit with altered language from a previous draft introduced by the U.S. last week. The U.S. also supported the resolution's call for an "immediate" ceasefire instead of a "permanent" one.

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U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield clarified the U.S. position during the vote, stating, "We did not agree with everything in the resolution. For that reason, we were unfortunately not able to vote yes. However, as I’ve said before, we fully support some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution, and we believe it was important for the council to speak out and make clear that a cease-fire must — any cease-fire must come with the release of all hostages.”

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White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby emphasized that the U.S. vote did not represent a policy shift. He expressed disappointment over Netanyahu's decision to cancel the meeting, which President Joe Biden had requested during a phone call last week. The President had expressed his desire to discuss alternatives to Israel's planned ground invasion in Rafah, a densely populated region of Gaza and the last remaining Hamas stronghold. Biden had warned that an invasion would cross a "red line," citing humanitarian concerns for the approximately 1.4 million civilians in the region.

Last week, Netanyahu stated that Israel hoped to complete its military operations with the "support" of the Biden administration, but added, "if needed, we'll do it by ourselves."

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