US draws widespread criticism after it vetoes UN call for Gaza ceasefire again

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The U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, drawing a global outcry.

This is the third time the U.S. has invoked its veto rights over the Israel-Hamas war, casting the lone vote against the Algeria-led resolution. Washington has argued that a ceasefire would endanger ongoing hostage release negotiations and its own attempts to secure a temporary ceasefire.

“A vote in favor of this draft resolution is a support for the Palestinians right to life,” said Amar Bendjama, Algerian ambassador to the U.N. “Conversely, voting against it implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them.”

Algeria’s resolution was backed by 13 of the 15 UNSC members, as Britain abstained. Almost 30,000 Palestinians have died in the war triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel that killed around 1,100 people.

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Washington under fire from China, allies

Sources:  Xinhua, Al-Arabiya, The United Nations

Beijing sharply criticized Washington over the veto, calling it “nothing different from giving the green light to the continued slaughter” in Gaza, Chinese state-operated news outlet Xinhua reported. “China expresses its strong disappointment and dissatisfaction with the U.S. veto,” Zhang Jun, China’s envoy to the U.N., told the UNSC, adding that the decision pushes Gazans into a more dangerous situation as the war continues.

China isn’t alone in blasting Washington’s decision: France and Saudi Arabia also backed an immediate ceasefire. “There is an extreme urgency to conclude, without further delay, an agreement on a ceasefire which finally guarantees the protection of all civilians and the massive entry of emergency aid,” French ambassador Nicolas de Rivière said. The Saudi foreign ministry called for reforms at the UNSC. “There is a need now more than ever to reform the Security Council to carry out its responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security with credibility and without double standards,” it said in a statement.

US prepping its own draft resolution

Sources:  CNN, The New Arab, The Times of Israel

Washington is preparing its own draft resolution for the UNSC, CNN reported. The resolution will call for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable” — phrasing that falls far short of the immediate cessation of hostilities called for by Algeria and other states on Tuesday. The draft resolution will also oppose an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, a crowded Gazan city bordering Egypt that shelters some 1.4 million displaced Palestinians. Israel has threatened to begin a ground offensive in Rafah at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan unless the remaining hostages are released. Sources told AFP that the U.S. resolution is unlikely to pass in its current iteration.

US often wields veto power in favor of Israel

Sources:  Al Jazeera, BBC, NPR

The U.S. has over the years used its veto power dozens of times to protect its ally Israel at the UNSC, Al Jazeera reported last year. Washington has historically wielded its veto to strike down resolutions calling for an independent Palestinian state — a plan that now has the backing of U.S. President Joe Biden — or criticism of Israel, the outlet noted. Other resolutions it has opposed include one on Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights in the 1980s and its invasion of southern Lebanon.