Israel balks at US refusal to nix UN ceasefire resolution

by ian


U.S. and Israeli relations took a major hit yesterday after the U.S. abstained from voting on a UN resolution on the war in Gaza.

The resolution called for an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan. It also pleads for the release of hostages held by Hamas, but it does not make this a condition for the implementation of the ceasefire.

The resolution was approved by every other member of the Security Council, but a lack of condemnation against Hamas left the U.S. hesitant to willfully approve the measure. Instead, the U.S. abstained – which ultimately let the draft pass.

The Israeli government was not happy with the United States for its abstention, given that the U.S. has opposed similar resolutions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed anger that the U.S. did not use its veto power to block the resolution and abruptly called off plans to send a delegation to Washington. This delegation was meant to meet with U.S. officials regarding its future operation in the city of Rafah.

In a statement on its decision, Netanyahu’s office said the abstention would hurt “the war effort…because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without freeing our hostages.” The office cited “the change in the American stance” as its reason to withdraw its delegation.

But National Security Council coordinator John Kirby claims the American stance has not changed.

Perhaps adding more fuel to the fire, Hamas welcomed the UN resolution and called for a more permanent ceasefire. A statement from the group further claims their “readiness to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides.”

This recent Security Council vote also came after Russia and China vetoed a U.S.-sponsored resolution on Friday. That measure would have supported an immediate ceasefire with the likely condition of hostage releases.