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Netanyahu visiting US would have given Hamas the ‘wrong message’: Spokesperson

An Israeli delegation’s planned visit to Washington would have sent the “wrong message” to Hamas if it proceeded as planned, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told NewsNation Friday.

Netanyahu cancelled the visit after the U.S. abstained from a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza Monday. The U.S.’s abstention allowed the resolution to ultimately pass.

“It was bad timing,” Tal Heinrich, a spokesperson for Netanyahu, told NewsNation’s Mike Viqueira during an interview on “The Hill on NewsNation.” “It would have sent double the wrong message to Hamas because it was right after the U.S. decided to abstain on that vote.”

Heinrich said Netanyahu saw the vote as an “unfortunate departure” from the United States’ “consistent” support of Israel in its mission to defeat Hamas and bring back the remaining hostages taken on Oct. 7. She criticized the U.S. for the vote that decoupled a cease-fire and the release of hostages.

“Just to remind you, this resolution was celebrated, was praised by Hamas, by Iran,” she said. “It was supported by Russia and China, who objected previous resolutions that linked the two issues together.”

The Israeli delegation was expected to arrive in the U.S. this week to discuss the war in Gaza as Israel’s forces threaten to invade the southern city of Rafah, a refugee camp where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering from the war.

The vote marks a significant shift for the Biden administration, which once stood unequivocally behind Israel in its counteroffensive, but now has asked the country to scale back its operation.

After Netanyahu canceled the meeting, national security communications adviser John Kirby said the White House was “kind of perplexed” by the decision.

Netanyahu’s office has agreed to reschedule the meeting. No date has been finalized, but the meeting could occur as early as next week.

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