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

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has decided to cancel the visit of two of his closest advisors to Washington following the abstention of the United States in the UN Security Council vote. 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 freeing 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 by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who is expected to meet with US defense officials in Washington 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 preserving 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 that target key Hamas elements in Rafah without escalating the conflict. Netanyahu’s decision reflects growing tensions between Israel and the US over how best approach Gaza situation.

The White House is concerned about impacting civilians in Gaza with a major military operation as well as implications for regional stability and international relations. Biden and Netanyahu have expressed differing views on how best address situation in Gaza with US advocating for more cautious approach

By Aiden Johnson

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