Israel-Hamas war: At the UN, the US blocks the call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
The United States on Friday vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza, despite pressure from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who denounced the "collective punishment" inflicted on the Palestinians.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood addresses the United Nations Security Council on December 8, 2023. AFP - CHARLY TRIBALLEAU
By: RFI Follow
The draft resolution received 13 votes in favour, one against, the United States, and one abstention, the United Kingdom. It was prepared by the United Arab Emirates after Guterres' unprecedented invocation on Wednesday of Article 99 of the UN Charter, allowing the secretary-general to draw the council's attention to an issue that "could endanger the maintenance of international peace and security".
But the Americans, Israel's allies, reiterated their hostility to a ceasefire on Friday. "We do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire," Deputy U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood insisted. "It would only plant the seeds for a future war, because Hamas has no desire for a lasting peace," he added, also lamenting the lack of condemnation of Hamas' October 7 attacks, which he called a "moral failure."
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, welcomed the U.S. veto. "The true path to peace is only to support Israel's mission, not a call for a ceasefire," he said.
I thank the United States and President Biden for standing firmly by our side, today and showing their leadership and values. On this Hanukkah holiday, a little of the light dispelled a lot of the darkness.
It is shocking that while Hamas is firing rockets at Israel from...
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) December 8, 2023
The draft resolution, stressing the "catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip," demanded "an immediate humanitarian ceasefire." The short text also called for the protection of civilians, the "immediate and unconditional" release of all hostages and "ensuring humanitarian access". Putting pressure on Council members, Antonio Guterres on Friday morning justified the invocation of Article 99 by again stressing the risk of a "total collapse of law and order" in the Gaza Strip. "I unreservedly condemn" the Hamas attacks on October 7, but "the violence perpetrated by Hamas can in no way justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," he said.
The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said: "The time for courage has come... You need to act now." And in Washington, the foreign ministers of several Arab countries and Turkey called for an "immediate" end to the war.
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