Netanyahu explains why he snubbed Washington — RT World News

Netanyahu explains why he snubbed Washington — RT World News
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Not sending a delegation to the US was a “message to Hamas,” the Israeli prime minister has said

Israel canceled the planned visit of a high-level delegation to the US as a message to Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

The snub came after Washington refused to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on Monday. Meeting in Jerusalem with US Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, Netanyahu explained his reasons.

“I thought the US decision in the Security Council was a very, very bad move,” the Israeli prime minister 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.”

The decision not to send the delegation to Washington was a message to the Palestinian militant group, he explained.

“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. His office also posted a video of his remarks on social media.

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

Unnamed US officials told Axios that Netanyahu’s actions were “self-defeating” and that he should have called President Joe Biden instead.

Netanyahu was infuriated last week when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called for new elections in Israel and argued the “far-right” prime minister was as much to blame for the current conflict as Hamas.

Israel declared war on the Gaza-based Palestinian group after October 7, when a series of Hamas raids resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 Israelis, while another 240 were taken captive. Since then, more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli military operation, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. UN Human Rights Council rapporteur Francesca Albanese has accused Israel of “genocide” in the enclave.

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