Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg / Flash 90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Feb. 18, 2024

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a strong condemnation of the United States decision to abstain Monday in a vote at the United Nations Security Council, allowing passage of a resolution demanding an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, now in progress.

The resolution also calls for the release of “all the hostages” held by Gaza’s Iranian-backed Hamas and other terrorist organization, but significantly does not condition the ceasefire upon the release of the hostages.


This makes it clear the global body prioritized the ceasefire over freeing the 134 innocent people who were abducted by the terrorists together with more than 100 others who were freed last November in a ceasefire deal that was ultimately violated by Hamas.

A high-ranking Israeli delegation that was set to leave Monday for talks in Washington at the request of President Joe Biden was abruptly ordered to stand down in response to the US decision to abstain, allowing passage of the resolution.

Netanyahu: No Delegation to Washington After US Abstains in UN Ceasefire Vote

“The United States has abandoned its policy in the UN today,” the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the statement released Monday night local time.

“Just a few days ago, it supported a Security Council resolution that linked a call for a ceasefire to the release of hostages.

“China and Russia vetoed that resolution partly because they opposed a ceasefire that was linked to the release of hostages. Yet today, Russia and China joined Algeria and others in supporting the new resolution precisely because it had no such linkage.

“Regrettably, the United States did not veto the new resolution, which calls for a ceasefire that is not contingent on the release of hostages.

“This constitutes a clear departure from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war,” the PMO pointed out.

“Today’s resolution gives Hamas hope that international pressure will force Israel to accept a ceasefire without the release of our hostages, thus harming both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear last night that should the US depart from its principled policy and not veto this harmful resolution, he will cancel the Israeli delegation’s visit to the United States.

“In light of the change in the US position, PM Netanyahu decided that the delegation will remain in Israel,” the statement concluded.

Unsurprisingly, Hamas welcomed the passage of the UNSC resolution, which is non-binding, and called on the Security Council to pressure Israel into committing itself to abide by the decision.

“We emphasize the importance of reaching a permanent cease-fire that will lead to the withdrawal of all Zionist forces from the Gaza Strip and the return of the prisoners to their homes,” Hamas said in its statement.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said following passage of the resolution that a ceasefire could have been reached months ago, “if Hamas had agreed — but Hamas has put obstacles to peace, hiding behind civilian infrastructure and civilian population,” she noted.

“Today my request to the world: speak up and call on Hamas to accept the deal that is on the table.

“I don’t expect it from Russia and China because they cannot condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas on October 7,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Only last week they vetoed such a decision. They have shown again and again that they do not care about promoting peace and are not interested in making a contribution to the humanitarian effort. They are just using the conflict as a pretext to split this council.

“We support the critical objectives that appear in this resolution and believe that it was important for the Council to speak and make sure that any ceasefire should come with the release of all the hostages,” she said — although Thomas-Greenfield clearly knew when she abstained during the vote that passage of the resolution — which she facilitated — would not bring such a result.

“The only way to end the conflict is to release all the hostages. A ceasefire and the release of the hostages will allow the influx of more humanitarian aid while the famine is expanding and to work on a permanent cessation of hostilities where Hamas can no longer threaten Israel, repeat October 7 and control Gaza,” she said.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.