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As Israel's Gallant seeks arms in Washington, Netanyahu picks fight with Biden

The Israeli premier's decision to cancel a major diplomatic visit to Washington will add to the distance between his country and the United States, but that may be precisely his plan.
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision on Monday to scrap the Washington visit of a high-level delegation that he had promised President Joe Biden takes his quarrel with the US leader to a dangerous new level.

Netanyahu’s decision, which followed the US refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, has prompted some who had previously refrained from criticizing him to question the premier's decision-making.

"No one understands what he's doing or what he's striving for," a senior Israeli security source who knows Netanyahu well told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "We are facing perhaps one of the most sensitive points in our history,” the source said, pointing to Israel’s growing international isolation, ongoing war in Gaza, potential of full-scale war with Hezbollah and the dire need for US munitions.

The 14-0 resolution calls for an “immediate” cease-fire during the remaining two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and urges “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages." But Netanyahu’s office argued that the resolution “gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a cease-fire without freeing our hostages” and described the US abstention as a change in US policy.

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