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UN resolution imperiled hostage negotiations, Jewish leaders say

“The U.S. move only will lengthen the conflict,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Washington abstains during the U.N. Security Council adoption of Resolution 2728 (2024) 14-0, demanding an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan and immediate release of hostages, March 25, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.
Washington abstains during the U.N. Security Council adoption of Resolution 2728 (2024) 14-0, demanding an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan and immediate release of hostages, March 25, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.

“Hamas’s stance clearly demonstrates its utter disinterest in a negotiated deal and attests to the damage done by the U.N. Security Council’s resolution,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Tuesday, referring to the terror organization’s “delusional demands.” 

Some American Jewish leaders agreed with Netanyahu’s assessment of the council’s unanimous vote on Monday for a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire to the fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, brought on by the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Washington, a permanent member of the council that could have vetoed the bill, allowed it to pass by abstaining.

“No question that the United States allowing language that decouples the release of Israeli hostages from the demand for a ceasefire led to Hamas’s rejection of the hostage deal,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told JNS.

Cooper noted that earlier on Tuesday, Hamas political leaders traveled to Iran to plot their next steps.

“Tehran is thrilled with the state of affairs, and neither they nor Hamas give a damn about Palestinian lives and have zero incentive to release hostages. Clearly, only military action could incentivize Hamas leaders to act on the hostages,” he said. “Tragically, the U.S. move only will lengthen the conflict and President Biden must now take steps to reassure the Israeli people he still has their back.”

Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values representing more than 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis, told JNS that “it is too early to see precisely what Hamas will now do.”

“The resolution gives Hamas an obvious opening,” Menken said. “The resolution permits Hamas to point fingers at the Israelis for not ceasing their efforts to secure release of the hostages as their reason for not releasing the hostages.”

“The U.N. resolution gets it backwards in a way that is frankly evil,” Menken added.

Marina Rosenberg, senior vice president of international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, told JNS that it should come as no surprise that Hamas welcomed “yesterday’s UNSC ceasefire resolution, while simultaneously engaging in stall-tactics during negotiations with Israel aimed at freeing the hostages.”

“Hamas’s bad-faith efforts are an attempt to undermine Israel, which they openly state they wish to destroy, and underscores the gravity of the situation,” she said.

During the U.S. State Department’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, Matthew Miller, the department spokesman, said that the council resolution had no effect on the negotiations with Hamas.

“That statement, which I believe said that ‘Hamas pulled out of the hostage talks,’ or ‘Hamas rejected the most recent proposal because of the United Nations Security Council resolution,’ that statement is inaccurate in almost every respect, and it is unfair to the hostages and their families,” Miller said.

“The description of Hamas’s response that has been aired in the public is all from news reports. It’s not the actual substance of the response, and I can tell you that that response was prepared before the U.N. Security Council vote—not after it,” Miller added. “For the United States, we are not going to engage in rhetorical distractions on this issue.”

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