US again vetoes UN action in Israel-Hamas war

ANGELA WEISS/ AFP

The United States on Tuesday again vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, blocking a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Thirteen council members voted in favor of the Algerian-drafted text, while Britain abstained. It was the third such US veto since the start of the current fighting on October 7.

"A vote in favor of this draft resolution is support to the Palestinians right to life. Conversely, voting against it implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them," Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama told the council before the vote.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield signalled on Saturday that the US would veto the draft resolution over concerns it could jeopardise talks between the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a pause in the war and the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"Demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring about a durable peace. Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel," Thomas-Greenfield told the council ahead of the vote.

The Algerian-drafted resolution vetoed by the US did not link a ceasefire to the release of hostages. It separately demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

"Simply calling for a ceasefire - as this resolution does - will not make it happen," Britain's UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the council after the vote.

"The way to stop the fighting, and potentially stop it from restarting, is to begin with a pause to get hostages out and aid in."

The US has now proposed a rival draft resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and opposing a major ground offensive by its ally Israel in Rafah, according to the text seen by Reuters on Monday.

It said it plans to allow time for negotiations and will not rush to a vote.

Until now, Washington has been averse to the word ceasefire in any UN action on the Israel-Hamas war, but the US text echoes language that President Joe Biden said he used last week in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is the second time since October 7 that Washington has proposed a Security Council resolution on Gaza. Russia and China vetoed its first attempt in late October.

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