June 6, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

U.S. vetoes another UN Security Council resolution urging Gaza war ceasefire

Palestinians gather near the ruins of houses and buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. [File: Reuters]

AMERICA has vetoed yet another United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Israel’s war on Gaza, blocking a demand for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Majority of members voted to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza that has killed more than 29,000 people.
Meanwhile, Washington is proposing a counter draft which an Al Jazeera reporter saw and says it is “watered down.”
It is not known yet when or if that draft would get to Council.
Arab nations, led by Algeria, put the draft resolution to a vote on Tuesday with the expectation that it would not pass after the US – Israel’s key ally – had warned it would not back the text and proposed a rival draft instead.
The U.S. was the only country to vote against the draft text while the United Kingdom abstained.
The UN Security Council’s 13 other member-countries voted in favour of the text demanding a halt to the war that has killed more than 29,000 people in Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities, and displaced more than 80% of the population.
For a UN Security Council resolution to be adopted, it requires at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the five permanent members: the U.S., UK, France, Russia or China.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, says her country was vetoing the resolution over concerns it would jeopardise talks between the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a pause in the war and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
She rejected claims that the veto was a U.S. effort to cover for an imminent Israeli ground invasion into the southernmost Gazan city of Rafah, where some 1.4 million displaced people are sheltering.
Introducing the resolution on Tuesday, Amar Bendjama, Algeria’s envoy to the UN, said the Council “cannot afford passivity” in the face of what is unfolding in Gaza, and that silence is “not a viable option”.
“This resolution is a stance for truth and humanity, standing against the advocates for murder and hatred,” he says.
“Voting against it implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them [the Palestinians].”
Algeria, the current Arab member of the Security Council, put forward an initial draft resolution more than two weeks ago.
The U.S. says it had proposed a rival draft resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire and opposing a major ground offensive by Israel in Rafah.
The U.S. draft has not yet been formally presented to Council members, and it has been unclear if or when it would be put to a vote.
One report says that in the draft text, seen by Al Jazeera, “there is a softening of the U.S. language … and for the first time the US is using that word ‘ceasefire’, [previously] controversial for the U.S.”
Until now, Washington has been averse to the word “ceasefire” in any UN action on the war, but the draft resolution text echoes language that U.S. President Joe Biden says he used last week in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The U.S. draft resolution would see the Security Council “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.”
Washington traditionally shields Israel from UN action and has previously vetoed two other Security Council resolutions since the war began on October 7, 2023.