Netanyahu Cancels Israel Delegation Trip to US After UN Security Council Ceasefire Resolution Tied to Ramadan Passes With Biden Admin Abstention

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday he is cancelling a planned trip to the U.S. by an Israeli government delegation in response to the Biden administration abstaining from a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution on the Hamas-Israel war calling for an unconditional Ramadan ‘ceasefire’ and hostage release, resulting in the resolution passing 14-0. The resolution in part says, “The Security Council…Demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties.”

US President Joe Biden (L), sits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting, in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by MIRIAM ALSTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Netanyahu decried the U.S. allowing a resolution to pass that did not set as a priority the release of the Israeli (and American) hostages held by Hamas for nearly six months as a condition for a ceasefire.

Ramadan is a month-long Muslim religious observance that goes from March 10 to April 9 this year. The aggressor in the war, Hamas, is a Muslim terrorist group. The victim, Israel, is a Jewish nation. Yet the Biden administration allowed the Security Council to pass a resolution tied to observing the Islamic religion of the aggressor even though Hamas started the war with the jihad slaughter and kidnapping of over 1,000 Jews in Israel on October 7.

The Biden administration has been pressuring Israel to ease up on Hamas citing humanitarian concerns, urging Israel to not invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah to finish off Hamas in order to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties.

Bloomberg’s Jordan Fabian reported the response by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby: “We’re very disappointed that they won’t be coming to Washington, DC to allow us to have a fulsome conversation with them about viable alternatives to going in on the ground in Rafah.”

More Kirby via Fox News producer Liz Friden: “The White House’s John Kirby said, “Our vote does not and I repeat, does not represent a shift in our policy… but because the final text does not have the language that we think is essential, like a condemnation of Hamas, we could not support it.”

The meeting had been scheduled at the request of Joe Biden, reported the Jewish Press (excerpt):

“The Israeli delegation, which included Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, was scheduled to leave for Washington DC late Monday for talks on Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah, in response to a request last week by President Joe Biden during a phone conversation with Israel’s prime minister.”

Netanyahu’s statement (followed by the text of the U.N. Security Council resolution:

Prime Minister’s Office Statement:

The United States has abandoned its policy in the UN today. Just a few days ago, it supported a Security Council resolution that linked a call for a ceasefire to the release of hostages.

China and Russia vetoed that resolution partly because they opposed a ceasefire that was linked to the release of hostages. Yet today, Russia and China joined Algeria and others in supporting the new resolution precisely because it had no such linkage.

Regrettably, the United States did not veto the new resolution, which calls for a ceasefire that is not contingent on the release of hostages.

This constitutes a clear departure from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war.

Today’s resolution gives Hamas hope that international pressure will force Israel to accept a ceasefire without the release of our hostages, thus harming both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear last night that should the US depart from its principled policy and not veto this harmful resolution, he will cancel the Israeli delegation’s visit to the United States. In light of the change in the US position, PM Netanyahu decided that the delegation will remain in Israel.

Security Council resolution:

The Security Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions on the situation in the Middle East,
including the Palestinian question,

Reiterating its demand that all parties comply with their obligations under
international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and in this regard deploring all attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as all violence and hostilities against civilians, and all acts of terrorism, and recalling that the taking of hostages is prohibited under international law;

Expressing deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,

Acknowledging the ongoing diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, aimed at reaching a cessation of hostilities, releasing the hostages and increasing the provision and distribution of humanitarian aid,

1. Demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs, and further demands that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain;

2. Emphasizes the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip and reiterates its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law as well as resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023);

3. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

While the special delegation meeting was cancelled, a visit by the Israeli Defense Minister is taking place as scheduled, reported the Jewish Press (excerpt):

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has arrived for talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who invited his Israeli counterpart to Washington.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival, Gallant said, “We have no moral right to stop the war while there are still hostages held in Gaza. The lack of a decisive victory in Gaza may bring us closer to a war in the north.”

The defense minister is also expected to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as well.

Gallant posted a video statement on his visit Monday (translation):

I begin my visit to Washington with the clear message I will deliver to National Security Advisor Sullivan and Secretary of State Blinken:

We have no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until we return all the abductees to their homes. Stopping the war in Gaza before a clear decision is made endangers Israel’s security and may bring us closer to war from the north.

The Times of Israel reported more of the statement by Gallant (excerpt):

“In the first meeting, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, I will make clear the importance of collapsing the Hamas regime and returning the hostages to their homes. We will act against Hamas everywhere, even in areas where we have not been yet. We will create an alternative to Hamas so that the IDF can complete its mission,” Gallant says.

“We have no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until we return all the hostages to their homes. If we don’t reach a clear and absolute victory in Gaza, it could bring a war in the north closer,” he adds.

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