The United States on Friday vetoed a proposed United Nations Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, diplomatically isolating Washington as it shields its ally.
Thirteen other members voted in favor of a brief draft resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, while Britain abstained. The vote came after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the 15-member council of a global threat from the two-month long war.
“What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?” Deputy UAE U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab asked the council. “Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?”
The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood told the council that the draft resolution was a rushed, imbalanced text “that was divorced from reality, that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way.”
“We do not support this resolution’s call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war,” said Wood.
The U.S. had offered substantial amendments to the draft, including a condemnation of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that Israel says killed 1,200 people and in which 240 people were taken hostage.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country abstained because there was no condemnation of Hamas.
“Israel needs to be able to address the threat posed by Hamas and it needs to do so in a manner that abides by international humanitarian law so that such an attack can never be carried out again,” she told the council. (REUTERS)