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Sunday, April 14, 2024

US Vetoes UNSC Ceasefire Resolution for Gaza, World Condemns

The United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution for a Gaza ceasefire, sparking criticism as it opposes calls for an immediate truce amid ongoing conflict and hostage negotiations.

The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council measure calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, casting the lone ‘no’ vote on a draft that garnered support from most other members. Washington had used its veto power to block two prior attempts, arguing the move would not produce a “durable peace.”

The call for an immediate humanitarian truce was shot down by the US delegation on Tuesday. While 13 nations in the 15-member Security Council favored the Algerian-drafted resolution, Washington was the sole country to vote no, while Britain abstained.

”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,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council before the vote.

Last weekend, Thomas-Greenfield signaled that the US would oppose the new ceasefire effort, arguing that it could undermine negotiations between the warring parties, aimed at achieving a temporary pause in the fighting and the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas.

While the latest draft resolution did not directly tie a ceasefire to the fate of the hostages, it separately called for the unconditional release of those captured by Palestinian militants during Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

Algeria’s UN envoy Amar Bendjama said backing the measure amounted to “support to the Palestinians right to life,” while opposing it would imply “an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them.”

The Palestinian UN ambassador, Riyad Mansour, slammed the US over its vote, saying “The message given today to Israel with this veto is that it can continue to get away with murder.”

Though Washington has barred three separate ceasefire attempts at the Security Council, it has floated its own draft resolution proposing a shorter “pause” to the conflict to allow time for negotiations, and for aid to reach the besieged Palestinian enclave. The rival resolution also urges Israel to refrain from a ground attack on Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have gathered amid Israel’s months-long assault.

The US-sponsored draft would “underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and calls for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale,” the text of the measure says.

According to local health officials, nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military operation, which was launched in response to Hamas’ terrorist attack late last year. Around 1,200 people were killed in the surprise assault, while Palestinian militants took more than 250 hostages back to Gaza. Dozens of hostages have since been freed, mostly through prisoner exchanges during a weeklong ceasefire in November 2023.

By again vetoing a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the US has shown a disregard for human life, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed.

On Tuesday, Washington blocked a third attempt by UNSC members to pause the fighting in Gaza. The Algerian-drafted resolution, calling for an immediate humanitarian truce, was backed by 13 nations in the 15-member body, including Russia and China. The US was the only country to vote ‘no,’ while the UK abstained.

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The Americans “are blocking the call for a ceasefire. That’s it. This is their attitude towards people, not towards people of a certain nationality, but towards people in general,” Zakharova said in an interview with Sputnik Radio on Wednesday.

“The solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], towards which the US is pushing people and regions, does not exist,” she stressed, without explaining what she believes Washington is trying to achieve in Gaza.

While the Americans continue to obstruct a truce, the situation in Gaza “only deteriorates,” the spokeswoman added.

US blocks third Gaza ceasefire push at UN

Zakharova also commented on Washington’s decision in early February to sanction several Israeli settlers, who were accused of stoking violence in the occupied West Bank.

“Just think about it. Did these settlers come out of nowhere?.. They are part of the [Israeli] government system, which was supported by the US in the first place. The US was the guarantor of the well-being of the people who developed these lands,” she stated.

Washington’s envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the US used its veto power on Tuesday over concerns that the resolution would “negatively impact” the current talks – involving the US, Israel, Egypt and Qatar – on the release of hostages held by the Palestinian armed group Hamas.

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

Israel has been bombarding Gaza since October 7 when Hamas carried out an incursion into the country, killing some 1,200 people and capturing 253 others. The group is still holding 134 hostages.

According to the latest data from Gaza’s health ministry, 29,195 people have been killed and 69,170 others wounded as a result of the IDF’s airstrikes and ground offensive.