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Israel blames collapsed hostage deal on US allowing UN cease-fire resolution

Israel’s government shaded the US Tuesday after the Biden administration opted to abstain from vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution that demanded an “immediate” cease-fire in the Gaza Strip — without conditioning the pause on the release of dozens of hostages held by Hamas.
The Jewish state recalled its negotiators from Qatar as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office derided the terror group’s demands for the return of the hostages as “delusional.”
“Hamas’s stance clearly demonstrates its utter disinterest in a negotiated deal and attests to the damage done by the UN Security Council’s resolution,” the office wrote on X.
“Israel will not address Hamas’s delusional demands. Israel will pursue and achieve its just war objectives: Destroying Hamas’s military and governmental capacities, release of all the hostages, and ensuring Gaza will not pose a threat to the people of Israel in the future.”
As one of five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, the US could have blocked the resolution with a single “no” vote. Instead, the Biden administration abstained, ensuring the resolution passed, 14-0.
Emboldened by the UN’s call for the fighting to stop, Hamas declared Monday that it would demand a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes, and an exchange of Palestinian prisoners for the 100 hostages believed to still be alive inside Gaza as well as the remains of approximately 30 others.
6 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an international community that is increasingly skeptical of the war. ZUMAPRESS.com
On Monday, in his initial response to the Security Council vote, Netanyahu canceled the planned visit of a delegation to Washington to hash out differences over an expected ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
Netanyahu’s office also ripped the Biden administration’s abstention as “a clear retreat from the consistent position of the US in the Security Council since the beginning of the war.”
While the delegation was canceled, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant followed through on plans to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
6 The UN Security Council passed a resolution Monday calling for an ‘immediate’ cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock
6 President Biden’s relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have frayed dramatically over recent weeks. AFP via Getty Images
At the start of Tuesday’s meeting with Gallant, Austin warned that “in Gaza today, the number of civilian casualties is far too high and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low.”
A senior US defense official explained that Austin told Gallant behind closed doors he wanted to “help Israel find an alternative to a full-scale and perhaps premature military operation that could endanger the over 1 million civilians that are sheltering in Rafah.”
Israeli defense officials have bristled at allegations that their forces are indiscriminately targeting civilians. In December, the Israel Defense Forces estimated that two civilians have been killed for every dead Hamas terrorist in Gaza, a ratio they described as “highly positive” given the challenges of fighting in the densely populated enclave.
6 Thousands of Palestinians are estimated to have been killed in the war. ZUMAPRESS.com
Netanyahu has been adamant that Israeli forces will go into Rafah, calling it the last major stronghold of Hamas in the beleaguered Palestinian territory.
The Biden administration has also ratcheted up the pressure on Netanyahu to help with efforts to funnel more desperately needed humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. However, supporters of Israel insist that most of the aid that does make it into Gaza is stolen by Hamas, leaving those who need help most to fend for themselves.
“There are other conversations that are expected to take place in the coming days and in the in the days and weeks ahead,” the defense official said. “So this is an ongoing conversation between Israeli and US leaders, in which we will present more of our ideas; I expect they will present additional details about their planning.”
6 Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant on Monday. ZUMAPRESS.com
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
6 President Biden has called Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘over the top.’ Getty Images
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack killed some 1,200 people and triggered a declaration of war by Israel, Biden has found himself in the political crosshairs of progressives.
More than 100,000 Democratic voters wrote in “uncommitted” during the Michigan primary contest Feb. 27 to protest Biden’s refusal to call for a cease-fire in the Middle East.
Monday’s UN vote came days after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for new elections in Israel and described Netanyahu as an “obstacle” to peace.

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