Israel will continue its operation to destroy Hamas despite a non-binding United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and release of hostages held by Hamas. The United States abstained, rather than vetoing the vote, the first time since the October 7 terror attack. Council members, including the UK, backed the resolution 14-0.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stinging statement through his office that the US had abandoned a ‘consistent position’ in the Security Council since the war began. The statement added: ‘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 the hostages.’

Netanyahu cancelled the departure of Strategic Affairs Minister Dermer and National Security Council Director Hanegbi for talks in Washington on Israel’s proposed ground operation in Rafah. Netanyahu told US Sen. Rick Scott during a meeting yesterday in Jerusalem the US decision was a “very bad move”. “The worst part about it was that it encouraged Hamas to take a hard line and to believe that international pressure will prevent Israel from freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas,” he said. “My decision not to send the delegation to Washington in the wake of that resolution was a message to Hamas… don’t bet on this pressure, it’s not going to work. I hope they got the message.”

Defence Minister Gallant held talks with US Defense Secretary Austin and CIA director William J. Burns. Netanyahu cemented Israel’s position on Tuesday. His office noted: ‘Hamas’s stance clearly demonstrates its utter disinterest in a negotiated deal… Hamas rebuffed all US offers for a compromise, while celebrating the Security Council’s resolution. Israel will not address Hamas’s delusional demands. Israel will pursue and achieve its just war objectives… destroying Hamas’s military and governmental capacities, release of all the hostages, and ensuring Gaza will not pose a threat to the people of Israel in the future.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan slammed the Security Council decision. “Demands for ceasefire without conditions on release of hostages is unhelpful and undermines efforts for the release of hostages,” he said. “All members should have voted against this shameful resolution.” Erdan added: “Releasing the hostages should be the first priority of the Council. Your demand for a cease-fire without making it conditional on the release of our hostages harms the efforts to release them and gives Hamas hope of achieving a cease-fire without releasing them. All council members should have opposed this resolution.”

Following his Washington meeting, Gallant stated: “I emphasised that Israel will not cease operating in Gaza until the return of all the hostages. Only a decisive victory will bring to an end of this war.”

After the vote, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said Israel had a ‘right to defend itself against Hamas. He rejected suggestions Hamas could remain in power or govern Gaza. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the US was consistent in support of a ceasefire as part of a hostage deal. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said negotiators were “getting closer” to a deal for an immediate ceasefire and release of the hostages.

The resolution demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli hostages.

The vote coincided with Israel suspending cooperation with UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.