Gaza ceasefire resolution fails at UN as US issues sole veto

The United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday that called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.

The US was the only country on the 15-member council to vote against the resolution, while the United Kingdom abstained, as the US continues to resists global pressure to join calls for Israel to immediately suspend its campaign.

The resolution was tabled by Algeria and has been backed by more than three-quarters of the 193-member UN General Assembly. It comes as Israelprepares an offensive on the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where more than one million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said the resolution would “negatively impact” negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the release of hostages held in Gaza.

“Demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring about a durable peace. Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

The US has instead proposed a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire” in Gaza “as soon as practicable.”

The draft resolution also warns against Israel’s ground incursion in Rafah in southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge after they were violently displaced by Israel’s months-long campaign.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield vetoes a resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire on 20 February.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Israel’s retaliatory assault in the wake of Hamas’s attacks on October 7 has killed more than 29,000 people in Gaza since 7 October, including 13,000 children.

Using unusually critical language for the US of its close ally Israel, the resolution notes that an offensive in Rafah would “result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighbouring countries” and “would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

Last week, President Biden warned Mr Netanyahu that such an operation “should not proceed,” according to a readout of their call from the White House.

The UN’s humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffiths has warned that Israel’s “military operations in Rafah could lead to a slaughter in Gaza” and would leave “an already fragile humanitarian operation at death’s door.”

In a speech putting forward the resolution, Algeria’s UN ambassador, Amar Bendjama, said that voting against it “implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them.”

“Today, every Palestinian is a target for death, extermination and genocide. We should ask ourselves how many innocent lives must be sacrificed before the council deems it necessary to call for a ceasefire,” he added.

Following votes, security council president Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett of Guyana said the council is “once again disappointed” by its repeat failure to demand a ceasefire.

“A ceasefire is the difference between life and death for the tens of thousands of Palestinians and other stuck in the warzone that Gaza has become,” she said.

Within the three weeks since Algeria’s draft resolution was first circulated, thousands of people have been killed and injured in Gaza, while “every aspect of life has gotten worse” for Palestinians who face “devastating levels” of food insecurity, hunger and famine, she said.

“How many more lives must be lost? How many lives must be maimed?” she said.

Palestine’s UN ambassador Riyad Mansour warned that, at that rate, “by the time this security council session ends, more than 25 Palestinians will have been killed.

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