US-Israel divisions emerge as UN votes for ceasefire
Israel and the United States have shown their sharpest public disagreement yet over the conduct and future of the war against Hamas as the two allies became increasingly isolated by global calls for a ceasefire.
Associated Press reports the dispute emerged on Tuesday while Israeli forces carried out strikes across Gaza, crushing Palestinians in homes.
President Joe Biden said he told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel was losing international support because of its “indiscriminate bombing” and that Netanyahu should change his government, which is dominated by hard-right parties.
Just hours later, the UN general assembly passed a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire by a vote of 153 in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions.
The non-binding vote is largely symbolic, but it serves as an important barometer of world opinion. None of the major powers joined Israel and the US in their opposition to the ceasefire.
Biden’s comments came as the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan heads to Israel this week to discuss with Netanyahu a timetable for the war – and what happens if Hamas is defeated.
Defence secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to Israel next week for a visit the Pentagon said aims to show U.S. support for Israel but also to press the need to avoid more civilian casualties in Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority welcomed the UN resolution and urged countries to pressure Israel to comply, Reuters reports. A Hamas official in exile, Izzat El-Reshiq, echoed that reaction in a statement on Telegram, saying Israel should “stop its aggression, genocide and ethnic cleansing against our people”.
The US and Israel say a ceasefire only benefits Hamas.
The UN humanitarian office has reiterated its message that Gaza faces a “public health disaster” after the collapse of its health system.
“We all know that the health care system is or has collapsed,” said Lynn Hastings, the UN Humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territory.
“We’ve got a textbook formula for epidemics and a public health disaster,” Reuters reports she added.
The Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has pledged to fight a decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to bar him from displaying human rights messages on his shoes while representing Australia this summer in support of people in Gaza.
Khawaja was pictured at training on Tuesday with the words “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” written across his Nike-branded footwear. Captain Pat Cummins said Khawaja would not wear the shoes in the first Test against Pakistan in Perth starting on Thursday.
Later, Khawaja posted a video on social media in which he said he would continue to pursue what he described as a “humanitarian appeal”.
There has been heavy rain in Gaza today. This video, via the Haaretz journalist Jack Khoury, shows the impact on the displaced people living in makeshift camps there.