In Sharp Reversal, Netanyahu to Send Delegation to Washington

US President Joe Biden (L) with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: US Embassy Tel Aviv, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

In a sharp reversal, Benjamin Netanyahu decided to send a delegation to Washington just a few hours after explaining that this was a message to Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Wednesday to reverse his decision and send two top Israeli officials to Washington as early as next week for talks about a possible military operation in Rafah, the US-based news website Axios revealed.

“It’s a sharp reversal by Netanyahu who on Monday canceled the same trip by the same people in protest over the U.S. not vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza,” Axios explained.

According to the website, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “the (Israeli) Prime Minister’s office has agreed to reschedule the meeting dedicated to Rafah,” adding that the discussion is “urgent”. 

A Message to Hamas

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that he first decided to cancel the planned visit as a message to the Palestinian Resistance group Hamas.

The Israeli prime minister explained his decision during a meeting in Jerusalem with Republican US Senator Rick Scott.

“I thought the US decision in the Security Council was a very, very bad move,” the Israeli prime minister reportedly said. “The worst part about it () was that it encouraged Hamas to take a hard line and to believe that international pressure will prevent Israel from freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas.”

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“It was a message first and foremost to Hamas: ‘Don’t bet on this pressure, it’s not going to work’. I hope they got the message,” Netanyahu said. 

The delegation was supposed to discuss the planned Israeli military operation against Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza. 

‘Unnecessary Drama’ 

The White House has publicly urged Israel against the attack, arguing that this would worsen the situation of displaced Palestinian civilians.

The US State Department called Netanyahu’s decision “surprising and unfortunate,” while the White House described it as “disappointing.” 

The US was “perplexed” by the snub because the Security Council abstention “does not represent a shift in our policy,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. 

An unnamed US official reportedly told Axios that Netanyahu’s decision was “an unnecessary drama on Netanyahu’s part.”

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UNSC Resolution

The United Nations Security Council adopted on Monday a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as the United Nations refrained from using its veto power for the first time, after 171 days of war.

The resolution, which was presented by non-permanent members of the Security Council, “demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a sustainable lasting ceasefire.

It also “demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, stressing the urgent need to increase aid and demanding the removal of all obstacles to its delivery.”

US Abstains – UN Security Council Passes Resolution Calling for Gaza Ceasefire

The resolution, which was written by the ten elected members to the council and was proposed in the council by Mozambique’s representative, passed with 14 votes in favor and the US abstaining.

The United States said the resolution was non-binding. However, the UN Charter stipulates that all Security Council resolutions are legally binding under international law.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,490 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,889 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’ 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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