Israel cancels Washington visit after US allows UN Gaza ceasefire resolution to pass

 Tensions between the United States and Israel were exposed on Monday when Washington stepped aside and allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Two Israeli officials said the US decision to abstain from the vote led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a trip that two of his top advisers were scheduled to take to the United States.

The United States had previously used its veto power against similar resolutions calling for a ceasefire. His position developed last week when, on Friday, he proposed a ceasefire resolution tied to the release of the hostages. This decision fell when Russia and China opposed it. The United States' abstention on Monday allowed the final resolution to pass, with the other 14 members of the 15-member council voting in favor.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that although the latest resolution included amendments requested by the United States, Washington could not vote in favor because it "did not agree with everything."

"The ceasefire could have been achieved almost months ago if Hamas had been prepared to release the hostages," the ambassador said, calling on member states and the Security Council to demand that Hamas "accept the agreement on the table."

She added: "Any ceasefire must be accompanied by the release of all hostages."

The resolution, presented by the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council, calls for an immediate ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and the "urgent need to expand the flow" of aid to Gaza.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said failure to implement the resolution would be "unforgivable."

"The Security Council has just passed a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable," Guterres wrote in X, previously known like Twitter.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority welcomed the decision, while Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan criticized the Security Council for approving a measure calling for a ceasefire “without making it conditional on the release of the hostages.” .

"It undermines efforts to secure their release," he said at the United Nations.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Friday that his country would not abide by the decision.

"The State of Israel will not stop shooting," Katz said. “We will destroy Hamas and continue fighting until the last hostages return home.”

The Biden administration opted to abstain rather than veto the U.N. Security Council resolution over the weekend when it was able to work to change certain parts of the resolution's text, according to a senior administration official.

Another source familiar with the matter said the United States planned to use the veto, but there were intense diplomatic efforts to reach a compromise that would put them in a position to abstain.

The official said the text initially called for a permanent ceasefire and did not mention negotiations to free the hostages, and the United States was able to push for the text to be changed to refer to a permanent ceasefire and include language about efforts in progress. to free the hostages. For these reasons, the United States believed the decision was consistent with US policy, the official said, a view shared by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"Because the final text does not contain key language that we consider necessary, particularly condemning Hamas, we cannot support it," Blinken said in a statement. "This lack of condemnation of Hamas is especially difficult to understand after days in which the world once again witnessed horrific acts committed by the groups." The UN vote came on Monday as tensions rose over the impending Israeli military operation in the southern Gaza Strip. The city of Rafah. The United States is demanding that Israel explain how it will protect 1.4 million Palestinians seeking asylum there before the expected incursion, which the United States says "would be a mistake."

The United Nations ambassador to the Palestinian Territories, Riyad Mansour, said the resolution is a vote “for life to prevail.”

Riyadh said: It took six months for the Security Council to demand an immediate ceasefire, and “more than 100,000 dead and maimed, two million displaced and famine, for this council to immediately demand an immediate ceasefire.”