All Israel

Betrayal or artificial outrage? US abstention on UNSC vote sparks debates in Israel and world

US claims decision signals no policy change as Hamas praises abstention

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the US votes to abstain during Security Council meeting and voting on resolution on Israel and Gaza conflict at UN Headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024 (Photo: Lev Radin/Sipa USA via REUTERS).

The U.S. decision to abstain from voting on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution, which demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza without making it contingent upon the release of Israeli hostages, sparked controversial debates over its interpretation on Tuesday.

After blocking similar resolutions in the past, the U.S. on Monday abstained for the first time, allowing a UNSC resolution to pass against Israeli appeals amid an already deepening rift with the Israeli government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the American decision a withdrawal from its previous positions and responded by canceling talks about alternatives to a Rafah incursion with U.S. officials in Washington this week.

U.S. officials expressed surprise at Netanyahu’s reaction and rejected the idea that the abstention reflected a policy change, with State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller saying the U.S. chose not to veto “because there were also things in that resolution that were consistent with our long-term position.”

An unnamed U.S. official told the Axios news outlet that the White House was “puzzled” by Netanyahu’s position, accusing him of seeking political gain. “The prime minister could have chosen a different course – to align with the U.S. on the meaning of this resolution. He chose not to, apparently for political purposes.”

Another American official told Axios he believes Netanyahu is using the issue as an excuse not to send a delegation to Washington.

“He was afraid we might offer something reasonable,” the official said. “He would rather have a fight with us, even if it’s not in Israel’s interest.”

Richard Goldberg, senior advisor at the Foundation for Freedom of Democracies (FDD) disagreed with the U.S. decision and warned of its implications.

“The spin on this resolution doesn’t reflect what the resolution actually says. This resolution pretends October 7 never happened and Hamas isn’t a brutal terrorist organization,” said Goldberg.

“The United States has fundamentally shifted its policy from ‘no ceasefire without the release of hostages’ to ‘we’d like to see both, but they need not be connected.’ Hamas is never going to release hostages unless it faces major pressure,” he added.

Several Republican senators, including Marco Rubio and Tim Scott, also criticized the U.S. abstention. Rubio said the decision was taken to “appease far-left anti-semitic, Pro-Hamas activists.”

International reactions largely followed expected patterns, with most European and Middle Eastern nations, such as Turkey, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, praising the resolution.

After Hamas immediately praised the UNSC resolution on Monday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials joined by voicing their support while using the opportunity to excoriate Israel.

The caretaker prime minister of the PA, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said he hoped, “Israel will be forced to implement the decision, as Israel’s criminal behavior as a rogue state above the law, and as a criminal state, makes whoever stands with it an accomplice in the crime.”

In Israel, several members of Netanyahu’s coalition supported the prime minister's strong response, with Foreign Minister Israel Katz vowing that Israel would not stop fighting but, instead, would “destroy Hamas and continue to fight until the last of the hostages returns home.”

“Today we are paying a price for the bear hug we received from the US after October 7th,” Likud party Knesset Member Danny Danon said on Radio Kol BaRama. “We need to carry out the operation in Rafah even without the approval of the Americans.”

In Israeli media, observers speculated about Netanyahu's motives for escalating the already serious rift with the U.S. Biden administration.

An unnamed senior political official told local Channel 12 news: “The confrontation with the US does not weaken Israel, but signals strength. The world and especially our enemies see that Israel knows how to withstand any pressure.”

However, one Israeli political bureaucrat called Netanyahu’s move an “unfortunate decision, the US is always by our side at the UN.”

Others, including those in government, condemned the prime minister's choice will serve to escalate tensions between Israel and the United States even further.

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, who joined the coalition last October, vowed that Israel wouldn’t stop fighting until the war’s goals were reached but also criticized Netanyahu for escalating the tensions with the United States.

“The Security Council’s decision has no operational significance for us, and in any case, we will continue to listen to our friends, and we will always do what is right for Israel's security,” he stated.

“At the same time, it is important to remember – the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. is an anchor of Israel's security and foreign relations, and the direct dialogue with the American administration is an essential asset that must not be given up even when there are challenges and disputes.”

Gantz suggested that Netanyahu visit Washington and speak with U.S. President Joe Biden directly.

“The prime minister would do well if he, himself, traveled to the USA, and held a direct dialogue with President Biden and the senior administration officials,” Gantz wrote.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid stated: “There is one question we should ask ourselves about the crisis that Netanyahu has led to with the US: 'Is it good for Israel or bad for Israel?' The unequivocal answer is: 'Bad for Israel.'”

“Bad for security, bad for the economy, bad for the fight against the Iranian nuclear issue, bad for our international standing, bad for the hostages,” he added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories