The United States vetoed a rarely-invoked United Nations resolution on Friday (December 8), backed by nearly all other Security Council members and several other countries demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, amid Israel’s war against Hamas. The supporters dubbed it a terrible day and warned of more civilian casualties and destruction as the war enters its third month. The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1 with the United Kingdom abstaining.
US official criticises Security Council
US deputy ambassador Robert Wood criticised the council after the voting for its failure to condemn the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel in which the terrorists killed nealy 1,200 people, most of whom were civilians, or to acknowledge Israel's right to defend itself.
He noted that if the military actions are halted, it would allow Hamas to continue to rule Gaza and “only plant the seeds for the next war.”
"Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-state solution. “For that reason, while the United States strongly supports a durable peace, in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire," Wood said before the vote.
According to the Palestinian territory's Health Ministry, Israeli military campaign has killed over 17,400 people in Gaza, however, the ministry does not differentiate between the civilian and combatant deaths.
What other nations said about UN resolution?
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were all in Washington on Friday, in a vain effort to convince the Biden administration to drop its opposition to a ceasefire. But their meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken took place only after the UN vote.
Russia's deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky called the vote "one of the darkest days in the history of the Middle East". He also accused the US of issuing a “death sentence to thousands, if not tens of thousands more civilians in Palestine and Israel, including women and children."
Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan highlighted that the security of Israelis and Gazans “can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated — not one minute before."
"So the true path to ensure peace is only through supporting Israel's mission — absolutely not to call for a ceasefire,” he told the council.
"Israel committed itself to the elimination of Hamas' capabilities for the sole reason of ensuring that such horrors could never be repeated again. And if Hamas is not destroyed, such horrors will be repeated,” he said.
Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs reacts
Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen criticised UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter on Wednesday, and said that his request for a ceasefire "disgraced his position".
"Guterres' appeal to stand on the side of Hamas and request a ceasefire disgraces his position and constitutes a mark of Cain on the UN. The invocation of Article 99, after it was not used for the war in Ukraine or for the civil war in Syria, is another example of Guterres' biased and one-sided stance," Cohen posted on X.
He further said that the ceasefire would prevent the end of the Hamas which is committing war crimes.
"A ceasefire at this time would prevent the collapse of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and would enable it to continue ruling the Gaza Strip. With gratitude to our ally, the U.S., for its support to continue the fight to bring the hostages home and to eliminate the Hamas terrorist organization, which will bring a better future to the region," he added.
(With AP inputs)