NewsBiden and Netanyahu feud escalates: Israel scraps planned delegation visit

Biden and Netanyahu feud escalates: Israel scraps planned delegation visit

Senior officials in ⁣the ‌Biden ⁤administration thought they had effectively communicated‌ to Israeli counterparts during continuous discussions over the⁤ weekend regarding the potential for the United States to⁤ abstain from, ​rather than veto, a U.N.⁢ Security Council resolution on Monday urging an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

However, the White House was surprised‌ by what occurred‌ following the abstention vote. ‍Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly canceled a visit to Washington by a high-level delegation‍ that President⁤ Biden had specifically requested in a recent phone call to address ‍U.S. concerns⁣ about Israel’s intentions for a significant military ​operation in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

State Department spokesman ⁢Matthew Miller described the cancellation as “surprising and‍ unfortunate,” ⁢downplaying the administration’s astonishment. This unexpected turn of events has turned ⁣a​ growing divide between Biden ⁣and Netanyahu into a ‍glaring public ⁢rift. Administration officials moved quickly to clarify that there had been no shift in U.S. ⁢policy, emphasizing that ⁤Israeli plans‍ for Rafah were not imminent, ongoing negotiations for hostage release would ⁢continue, and expressing readiness​ for further dialogue with Netanyahu and his government.

Despite⁢ extensive consultations over the​ weekend and without any attempt by the Israeli leader to directly contact ⁤Biden, Netanyahu accused the United ​States of deviating from its U.N. policy following the⁢ vote. In a ⁣statement released by his ⁢office, he claimed‍ that the U.S. had “abandoned its policy in the U.N. today,” ⁢by not vetoing the​ resolution, which⁣ called ‍for ⁤an unconditional cease-fire. ⁣This‌ alleged ⁢departure from the‌ U.S. stance led to the ‍suspension of the delegation’s trip to Washington, led by Ron​ Dermer, Netanyahu’s senior strategic ‌advisor.

The resolution itself, a single‍ page in length, was ⁤crafted in an effort to bridge the gaps ⁣that had⁤ rendered the Security ‌Council ineffective in previous attempts to halt the crisis in Gaza. The United States had previously vetoed three cease-fire resolutions and a proposal for an immediate cease-fire ⁤linked to a ‍hostage release was ⁣vetoed by both Russia and China.

Introduced by​ the 10 nonpermanent ‌members of ⁢the Security ⁢Council, the resolution aimed to address humanitarian concerns in ‍Gaza,​ where the five veto-wielding ⁤countries had failed to reach a consensus.⁣ Israel raised objections to ⁢certain language in the resolution, ​pushing to remove the term “permanent” before the cease-fire⁣ call and insisting that a demand for the release of Israeli ​hostages be tied to any​ cessation of hostilities. The United States ⁤shared these reservations and managed to have the term “permanent” removed while combining the calls for a cease-fire and hostage release in the same paragraph.

The ‌final version ⁣of the⁢ resolution called for an “immediate cease-fire”⁢ lasting until the conclusion of the Muslim ⁣fasting month of Ramadan,‍ which⁤ is two weeks away.

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