Opinion

UN ceasefire call exposes Netanyahu’s Gaza delusion - The Irish News view

Benjamin Netanyahu has responded with more carnage and death - and by falling out with Joe Biden

More than 32,000 people have been killed in the war, which began on October 7 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israel Palestinians More than 32,000 people have been killed in the war, which began on October 7 (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Anyone clinging to the threadbare hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would salvage the merest shred of decency by paying heed to the United Nations Security Council’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza has got their answer.

In open defiance of the UN resolution, Israel has continued to pummel Gaza and its besieged population. More than 80 people were reported to have been killed yesterday, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. The single worst episode involved the deaths of at least 18 people in Rafah. They included nine children, with some as young as two years old.



These latest Israeli strikes bring the death toll in Gaza since the depraved Hamas attacks of October 7 to 32,414. A further 74,787 have been injured.

The bloody slaughter has been accompanied by a helpless slide into a deepening humanitarian crisis. Israel’s blockade has stopped essential supplies entering Gaza, meaning it is using starvation as a weapon of war.

Hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza have stalled following a UN resolution (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Airdrops of aid have become routine over Gaza (Fatima Shbair/AP)

Airdrops of aid - food, water, baby formula and medical supplies - are now routine. At least a dozen Gazans drowned on Monday as they attempted to salvage aid packages which had landed in the sea - a tragic episode which shows how impossibly desperate people are.

It is important to acknowledge that the UN resolution, which is non-binding, also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the 134 hostages still held by Hamas. Sadly, it is just as futile to expect Hamas to do the right thing as it is Israel, though only Israel is a member of the UN and expects to be treated as part of the international community.

President Joe Biden should have acted much sooner and far more firmly long before now. It is reprehensible that he has not. By delaying he has only emboldened Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

The Security Council vote may have had no immediate effect on Israel’s actions but is nonetheless a watershed moment because the United States decided to abstain and not exercise its veto. It is the most overt public and diplomatic rebuke that the US has yet aimed at its ally.

President Joe Biden should have acted more directly and far more firmly long before now. It is reprehensible that he has not. By delaying he has only emboldened Mr Netanyahu in his determination to press ahead with an all-out ground assault on Rafah, where 1.2 million Gazans are trapped.

Mr Netanyahu has not taken Mr Biden’s belated criticism of the unrestrained nature of Israel’s actions well. He criticised the US for ‘abandoning’ its previous position around calling for a ceasefire and has cancelled a delegation he had planned to send to Washington - at Mr Biden’s request - to discuss his military plans for Rafah.

Falling out with the US is just the latest example of the damage being wreaked by Mr Netanyahu’s deadly delusion. He needs to go.