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‘Perplexed, disappointed’: US after Israel’s decision to cancel delegation visit

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NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the United Nations Security Council voted on Monday to demand an “immediate ceasefire” in the ongoing Gaza conflict, marking the first such resolution amid the current hostilities. Israel expressed strong disapproval, particularly after the United States, its traditionally closest ally, abstained from the vote, allowing the resolution to pass.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the critical importance of the resolution’s implementation, stating on social media platform X, “Failure would be unforgivable.” The resolution’s passage led Israel to cancel a previously scheduled delegation visit to Washington, aimed at discussing concerns over potential military actions in Rafah, Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the US abstention as detrimental to Israel’s war efforts and the push to release hostages. His office labeled it “a clear retreat” from the US’s longstanding supportive stance.
Immediately after the resolution passed, Israel cancelled the visit of a delegation to Washington, which the United States had requested to discuss concerns over a mooted Israeli invasion of Rafah, in crowded southern Gaza.
Following Israel’s unexpected withdrawal of its delegation to Washington, the White House expressed its “perplexed” and “disappointed” stance. Nevertheless, the State Department has assured that it will “find other ways to make our concerns known” regarding the anticipated Israeli military action in Rafah.
The US maintained that its abstention did not signal a policy shift, despite adopting a firmer stance with Israel lately. The resolution, unanimously approved by the other 14 Security Council members, calls for a ceasefire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, aiming for a lasting peace and the release of hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups, though not conditioning the ceasefire on these releases.
The insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on initiating a ground assault in Rafah, a critical city located along Gaza’s southern edge housing a significant portion of the enclave’s residents, has stirred significant discord.
The conflict, ignited by Hamas’s attack on October 7, has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with Israel reporting approximately 1,160 deaths, mostly civilians, and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip’s health ministry citing a Palestinian death toll of 32,333, predominantly women and children.
In response to the Security Council’s resolution, Hamas expressed readiness to negotiate the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The Palestinian Authority and other international figures, including European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen and Jordan’s foreign ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah, have also welcomed the vote, emphasizing the need for Israel’s compliance.
The resolution comes amid escalating tensions between the US and Israel, particularly concerning the humanitarian impact in Gaza and strategic disagreements over a ground operation in Rafah. Despite Israel’s decision to cancel the delegation’s Washington visit, the US State Department vowed to convey its concerns through other channels.
As the international community reacts to the UN’s ceasefire demand, the global focus remains on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the broader implications of continued conflict in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)

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