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Israel Cancels Strategic Visit to Washington after US Refuses to Defend Israel at the UN

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JERUSALEM, Israel – The United States voted to abstain Monday on a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Many in Israel see this as another major break between Israel's government and the Biden administration over the war to defeat Hamas.

The non-binding Security Council resolution was approved 14-0, with the United States abstaining.

It's the first Security Council ceasefire resolution to pass since the beginning of the war.  

The demand read in part, "An immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire."

It also called for "an immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages," but was not linked with the ceasefire demand.

The resolution did not condemn Hamas or mention the atrocities of October 7th.

Despite the abstention, the White House said it reflected no change in its policy.

"It's very consistent with everything that we've been saying," said National Security Advisor John Kirby. "We want to get done here and we get to decide what our policy is. The Prime Minister's office seems to be indicating through public statements that we somehow changed here. We haven't."

But after the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a visit by his national security officials to discuss Israel's planned incursion into Rafah.  HE

He wrote, "The U.S. backed down from its stance of linking a ceasefire to the return of the hostages," and added, "It gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without releasing our hostages." 

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In a statement after the vote, Hamas praised the ceasefire resolution. It said, "We call for a permanent cessation to this criminal war and Israel's immediate withdrawal from the Gaza Strip."  

Others, such as former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, argued the U.S. strengthened Hamas with the vote. Friedman posted on X, "No condemnation of Hamas for its brutal initiation of the conflict, and no conditioning a ceasefire on the release of the hostages. Just a naked demand for Israel to hand Hamas an ill-deserved victory. Hamas is celebrating the result – that tells you all you need to know. I am deeply embarrassed for the Biden Administration and our country."

Former Vice President Mike Pence called the U.S. action a "disgrace," and on Capitol Hill, both sides of the aisle condemned the vote.  

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) wrote, "It's appalling the United States allowed passage of a resolution that fails to condemn Hamas. The U.N. has always been unwilling to condemn this group of terrorists, cowards and rapists."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement saying, "Today's resolution is a capitulation to and victory for Hamas. It reverses what the Biden administration said was its policy linking a ceasefire to the release of hostages, even while Hamas is still holding hostages, including American hostages."

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However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hailed the resolution and wrote, "The U.S. must push all parties to honor this ceasefire and rush massive humanitarian aid into Gaza to feed starving people."

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, already in Washington, warned of consequences if Israel does not defeat Hamas.

Gallant insisted, "We have no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until we return all the hostages home. If we do not reach a clear and decisive decision in Gaza, it may bring us closer to war in the north."

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