230799
231996

World  

US vetoes UN resolution backed by many nations demanding immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza

US vetoes UN cease-fire

The United States vetoed against a United Nations resolution Friday backed by the vast majority of Security Council members and many other nations demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.

The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1 with the United Kingdom abstaining.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood criticized the council after the vote for its failure to condemn Hamas' attacks in Israel and to acknowledge Israel's right to defend itself. He declared that halting military action would allow Hamas to continue to rule and "only plant the seeds for the next war.”

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and other leading Arab nations and Turkey were in Washington on Friday on a rare joint mission to press the Biden administration to drop its opposition to a cease-fire.

“If people are not seeing it here, we are seeing it," Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said, adding: “We’re seeing the challenges that we are facing talking to our people. They are all saying we’re doing nothing. Because despite all our efforts, Israel is continuing these massacres.”

Israel’s more than two-month military campaign has killed more than 17,400 people in Gaza — 70% of them women and children — and wounded more than 46,000, according to the Palestinian territory’s Health Ministry, which says many others are trapped under rubble. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.

The resolution was proposed by the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the 15-member body, demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood criticized the council for not condemning Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 in which the militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 hostages.

He said a cease-fire would leave Hamas in charge of Gaza, still holding more than 100 Israeli hostages.

No government would allow such a threat after the worst attack on its peoples in decades, Wood said, stressing that a halt to military action would only “plant the seeds for the next war, because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-state solution.”

“For that reason, while the United States strongly supports a durable peace, in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, we do not support calls for an immediate cease-fire,” Wood said.

The council called the emergency meeting to hear from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who for the first time invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which enables a U.N. chief to raise threats he sees to international peace and security. He warned of an “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged the council to demand a humanitarian cease-fire.

Guterres said he raised Article 99 — which hadn’t been used at the U.N. since 1971 — because “there is a high risk of the total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza.” The U.N. anticipates this would result in “a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt,” he warned.

Gaza is at “a breaking point,” he said, and desperate people are at serious risk of starvation.

Guterres said Hamas’ brutality against Israelis on Oct. 7 “can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

“While indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields, are in contravention of the laws of war, such conduct does not absolve Israel of its own violations,” he stressed.

The U.N. chief detailed the “humanitarian nightmare” Gaza is facing, citing intense, widespread and ongoing Israeli attacks from air, land and sea that reportedly have hit 339 education facilities, 26 hospitals, 56 health care facilities, 88 mosques and three churches.

Over 60% of Gaza’s housing has reportedly been destroyed or damaged, some 85% of the population has been forced from their homes, the health system is collapsing, and “nowhere in Gaza is safe,” Guterres said.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told the council that Israel’s objective is “the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip” and “the dispossession and forcible displacement of the Palestinian people.”

“If you are against the destruction and displacement of the Palestinian people, you have to be in favor of an immediate cease-fire,” Mansour said. "When you refuse to call for a cease-fire, you are refusing to call for the only thing that can put an end to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan stressed that regional stability and the security of Israelis and Gazans “can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated — not one minute before.”

“So the true path to ensure peace is only through supporting Israel’s mission — absolutely not to call for a cease-fire,” he told the council. “Israel committed itself to the elimination of Hamas’ capabilities for the sole reason of ensuring that such horrors could never be repeated again. And if Hamas is not destroyed, such horrors will be repeated.”



More World News