Netanyahu cancels Israeli delegation to US over abstention on Gaza ceasefire at UN

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has canceled the visit of two of his closest advisors to Washington following the United States’ abstention in the UN Security Council vote that allowed for the approval of a ceasefire resolution in Gaza after nearly 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 releasing hostages, thus undermining efforts both in war and to free them.

The delegation 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 explore alternatives to invading Rafah in southern Gaza. The cancellation came after a phone conversation between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, where they disagreed on the need for an invasion of Rafah to end Hamas.

The decision does not affect another visit by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who is expected to meet with US defense officials to discuss alternatives to defeating Hamas without major consequences for civilians. Gallant will also discuss arms deliveries from the United States and preserving Israel’s qualitative military advantage.

The Biden Administration is opposed to a major ground operation in Rafah, citing concerns about civilian casualties and regional stability. Instead, Washington has proposed alternative approaches targeting key Hamas elements in Rafah without escalating the conflict further. Netanyahu’s decision reflects growing tensions between Israel and the US over how best to address the situation in Gaza.

The White House is concerned about the impact of a major military operation on civilians in Gaza as well as its implications for regional stability and international relations. Biden and Netanyahu have expressed differing views on how to address this situation, with the US advocating for a more cautious approach aimed at avoiding further humanitarian crises and civilian casualties.

By Riley Johnson

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