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Netanyahu Ditches Plans For Israel’s Meeting With Biden Admin After US Fails To Veto UN Ceasefire Vote

Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Jake Smith, The Daily Caller News Foundation | March 25, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled on Monday an Israeli delegation meeting with the Biden administration after the U.S. failed to veto a United Nations (U.N.) ceasefire earlier in the day.

The Israeli delegation would have convened with Biden administration officials in Washington, D.C., this week and work through differences over Israel’s next moves in the country’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Netanyahu canceled the meeting on Monday after the U.S. — for the first time since the war began on Oct. 7 — chose to abstain from a U.N. resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, allowing it to pass unilaterally by other member nations’ votes.

“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,” Netanyahu’s office told The Jewish Insider in a statement on Monday. “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.”

“In light of the change in the American stance, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided the delegation will not depart,” Netanyahu’s office said.

Biden administration officials argued that the U.S. allowed the U.N. resolution to pass on Monday because it  did condition a ceasefire on the immediate release of the hostages, although language had been altered from a prior draft of the revolution introduced by the U.S. last week, according to Jewish Insider and a diplomat speaking to Axios. The U.S. also allowed the resolution to pass because it altered language to call for an “immediate” ceasefire rather than a “permanent” one.

“We did not agree with everything in the resolution. For that reason, we were unfortunately not able to vote yes,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during the vote on Monday. “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.”

“Our vote does not — and I repeat that, does not — represent a shift in our policy,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Monday, noting that the Biden administration was very disappointed that Netanyahu had canceled the planned meeting between officials and the Israeli delegation.

President Joe Biden had requested the meeting with Netanyahu during a phone call last week, telling him he wanted his administration to meet with Israeli officials and discuss alternatives to Israel’s planned ground invasion in Rafah, the southernmost, densely populated region of Gaza and the location of the last remaining Hamas strongholds. Biden has said Israel would be crossing a “red line” if it pushes into Rafah, citing humanitarian concerns for the roughly 1.4 million civilians in the region.

Netanyahu said last week that Israel hoped to complete its military operations with the “support” of the Biden administration, “but if needed, we’ll do it by ourselves.”

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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