ISRAEL has cancelled a meeting in Washington after the US declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

We told yesterday how it was the body’s first demand to halt fighting since the bombardment of Gaza first started following Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (below) accused the US of having “abandoned” its previous policy with the spat coming amid calls for urgent action to avert a famine in Gaza.

The National: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Galant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Aid groups have previously described the situation in Gaza hospitals as “unimaginable” with reports of open wounds being left untreated and a lack of nutritional supplies.

Despite the vote, reports suggest that Israeli warplanes have continued to bomb Rafah and that fighting has continued in Khan Younis and Gaza City. 

The US has used its veto power to block three Security Council resolutions calling for pauses in the fighting or a ceasefire while another two have been vetoed by both Russia and China.

On Monday, the US abstained on a resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” for the rest of the month of Ramadan as well as the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages”.

The 14 other members of the council, including the UK, voted in favour, meaning the resolution passed.

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Following the vote, Netanyahu objected that the resolution did not make the call for a ceasefire conditional on the release of hostages, as the US and Israel had both argued it should.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement: “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 hostages.”

It added that “in light of the change in US position,” a planned visit by an Israeli delegation to the US this week would not go ahead.

Officials had been due to meet to discuss Israel’s planned offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where around 1.5 million Palestinians have sought shelter.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said publicly a ground operation in Rafah risks killing more civilians.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said it was “disappointing” the meeting would not go ahead but reiterated the US view that a “major ground offensive in Rafah would be a major mistake”.