The United States remains Israel's closest ally, engaged in a merciless struggle against the Hamas terror movement. Overnight, the UN secretary-general denounced the "collective punishment" inflicted on the Palestinians by the IDF, and called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire." Washington vetoed it.
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The draft resolution, which received 13 votes in favour, one against (United States) and one abstention (United Kingdom), 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".
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We do not support a resolution that calls for an unsustainable ceasefire that will simply plant the seeds of the next war," Deputy U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said, also denouncing the "moral failure" of the absence of the October 7 Hamas attacks in the condemnation text. The Americans, Israel's allies, vetoed for the 35th time since 1970 a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue (out of 39 in total).
Ceasefire possible 'through the destruction of Hamas'
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, thanked the United States for "standing firmly by our side," saying a ceasefire would only be possible through the "destruction of Hamas." "This is a sad day in the history of the Security Council," said Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour. But "we will not give up." The draft resolution, supported by nearly 100 countries, demanded "an immediate humanitarian ceasefire," the release of hostages and humanitarian access.
As the crisis in Gaza deepens and threatens to spread, (the Council) is failing to live up to the fundamental mission entrusted to it by the Charter," said French Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière. This disappointment was shared by many members of the Council. "Our American colleagues have sentenced thousands, if not tens of thousands, of additional Palestinian and Israeli civilians to death before our eyes," said Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy.
By continuing to provide arms and diplomatic protection to Israel, which is committing atrocities, the United States risks being complicit in war crimes," Louis Charbonneau of the controversial Human Rights Watch group said in a statement. Despite the council's vote, Guterres "remains determined to push for a humanitarian ceasefire," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told AFP. On Friday morning, the Secretary-General had strongly called on the Council to act to avoid the "total collapse of law and order" in the Gaza Strip.
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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. "While Hamas' indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel and the use of civilians as human shields are violations of the laws of war, such behavior does not absolve Israel of its own violations," Guterres said. In Washington, the foreign ministers of several Arab countries and Turkey also called for an "immediate" end to the war.
Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, this is the fifth draft resolution rejected by the Council, which has been largely divided for years on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Four projects had already been rejected in the weeks following 7 October, due to a lack of sufficient votes, or because of Russian, Chinese or American vetoes. The Council finally broke its silence in mid-November, managing to adopt a resolution that called for "humanitarian pauses and corridors" in the Gaza Strip, not a "ceasefire" or even a "truce."