Netanyahu calls off high-level delegation visit to D.C. as relations with Biden take a sour turn

Relations between the U.S. and Israel took a turn for the worse when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a high-level delegation’s visit to Washington, D.C. on Monday.

The Israeli leader abruptly canceled the trip by officials which was specifically requested by President Joe Biden in a phone call last week to discuss the imminent military invasion of Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Southern Gaza which is fiercely opposed by the administration.

Netanyahu was angered that the White House allowed a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire to pass without being vetoed as the U.S. has done with previous similar resolutions for a halt to the violence that Hamas invited on Palestinians when it slaughtered over 1,200 people in the October 7, 2023 attack on Israeli civilian areas.

“Regrettably, the United States did not veto the new resolution, which calls for a ceasefire that is not contingent on the release of hostages,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “This constitutes a clear departure from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war.”

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

The canceled visit caught the administration off guard with White House national security spox John Kirby saying that the U.S. was “perplexed” by the abrupt move by Netanyahu.

“We get to decide what our policy is. It seems like the Prime Minister’s office is choosing to create a perception of daylight here when they don’t need to do that,” Kirby told reporters, also spinning the non-veto of the resolution as being in Israel’s own best interests.

The latest uptick in tensions comes as a new CNN poll shows that Biden is being clobbered in a key battleground state by presumptive GOP frontrunner Donald J. Trump with his need to appease the “Michigan caliphate” seemingly overriding the preservation of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the Jewish democracy which has withstood the test of time for decades under both Democrat and Republican administrations – until now.

Democrats have turned to increasingly harsh rhetoric against Netanyahu over his refusal to call off the military operation until Hamas has been wiped out with Vice President Kamala Harris openly threatening the prime minister during a weekend appearance on ABC’s “This Week” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanding new elections in a recent speech from the Senate floor.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller called the development “a bit surprising and unfortunate” at a press briefing.

“We don’t make threats to them. We don’t expect them to make threats to us,” he said.

Chris Donaldson


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