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US abstains as UN Security Council approves Gaza cease-fire resolution

Oh my. Joe Biden picked this fight, and now he's going to get it -- no matter how useless this UN Security Council resolution actually is. And typically for Biden and Antony Blinken, they blundered their way into the hands of Russia and China.

First, Biden and Blinken tried to pressure Israel's unity government to forego an assault on Hamas' remaining four brigades in Rafah by proposing a UNSC resolution for a cease-fire. That language required the "unconditional release" of all hostages by Hamas as well. Russia and China vetoed that resolution and replaced it with a conditionless demand for a ceasefire, clearly favoring Hamas and its patron, Iran.

And after initially threatening a veto, Biden and Blinken instead abstained.

Make no mistake about the message sent by the UN Security Council. It just voted to vindicate terrorism, human-shield strategies, and hostaging in a breathtaking contradiction to the norms of conflict. Hamas initiated hostilities with the most barbaric large-scale terrorist attack, conducting a planned operation of mass rapes, murders, pillaging, and kidnappings aimed at non-combatants. Rather than demand the return of those kidnapped and a surrender of war criminals as a condition of a cease-fire, the United Nations has instead put the onus on the aggrieved party to stop fighting a war it didn't start in the first place.

The mullahs in Tehran couldn't possibly be more pleased with this turn of events. Even theologically, this is a pure shot in the arm for the radical Islamists. The UN Security Council is ordering Israel to observe Ramadan by standing down in a war that Hamas started on the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Allahu akbar, indeed -- and now practically ratified by the UN as policy, or so you can bet the mullahs will declare.

The consequences of this craven betrayal will be felt for decades.

The immediate consequences, however, will likely be an acceleration of the Rafah operation. Benjamin Netanyahu and the unity government had been trying to accommodate Biden in light of his political difficulties at home, but that has already come to a screeching halt. Netanyahu has already canceled a security briefing with the Biden administration as a result of the abstention:

"The US has backed down from its consistent stance in the security council since the beginning of the war," the Prime Minister's Office said in response to the vote.

The US did not veto a version of the resolution that calls for a ceasefire that is not dependent on the release of hostages which is a clear backing down from its stance, according to the PMO.

"This backing down hurts the war effort and the effort to release the hostages because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without releasing our hostages," added the PMO.

Netanyahu will not allow the delegation that was planned to go to Washington this week to meet with senior US official to go forward, following the failure to veto the resolution.

The Israelis didn't need to be briefed on the operation. Biden needed to look like he was moderating the Israeli response in Rafah for domestic-politics purposes, and the Israelis were playing along. 

Why would the UN Security Council refuse to require the return of all hostages as part of the cease-fire? These are not captured soldiers, but kidnapped civilians and crime victims. It's despicable. 

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