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.
Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskyi stated: “For two months, the UN Security Council has not been able to fulfill its function for the maintenance of international peace and security and to demand an end to the bloodshed on the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. There is one reason for this. The hard headed, selfish, destructive position of the USA, which is trying to do everything it can to protect its ally and is essentially prohibiting the UN Security Council from getting involved.
The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas.
“This text also failed to acknowledge that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism consistent with international law. This is a right to which all states are entitled. As I stated earlier today, no country could or should tolerate what Hamas did on October 7th,” said Robert Wood, US Deputy Ambassador to the UN.
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.
“We call for further and longer pauses to get aid to Palestinians and allow space for further hostage releases. But we cannot vote in favor of a resolution which does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians on the 7th of October. Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage,” Woodward said.