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Biden-Netanyahu rift grows, as Israel cancels delegation visit

Senior Biden administration officials believed they made clear to their Israeli counterparts in nonstop talks over the weekend the possibility that the United States would abstain from - rather than veto - a U.N. Security Council resolution Monday calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

But the White House was taken aback by what happened after the abstention vote was cast: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly canceled a high-level delegation's trip to Washington, specifically requested by President Biden in a phone call last week, to discuss U.S. concerns about Israel's plans for a major military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a reaction that understated the administration's shock, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller called the cancellation "surprising and unfortunate."


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