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US vetoes resolution on Gaza which called for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’

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The United States on Friday once again vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

On Friday 8 December, for the second time, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, “as civilian casualties mount in Israel’s military campaign against Hamas”.

Thirteen of the fifteen members of the Security Council voted in favour of the resolution, with the United Kingdom abstaining. The draft resolution had been co-sponsored by 97 UN member states.

Robert Wood, the US deputy ambassador to the UN, said after the vote: “We do not support a resolution that calls for an unsustainable ceasefire that will simply sow the seeds of the next war”, he explained, also denouncing the “moral failure” represented by the absence in the text of any condemnation of the Hamas

UN Secretary-General António Guterres thanked ambassadors for their response to his invocation of Article 99 following his urgent letter – one of the most powerful tools at his disposal – saying he had written because “we are at breaking point” in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Article 99, contained in Chapter XV of the Charter: says that the UN chief “may bring to attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

It was the first time ever that Mr. Guterres had used the rarely invoked clause.

“Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” Mr. Guterres wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after dispatching the letter.

He urging the body to help end carnage in the war-battered enclave through a lasting humanitarian ceasefire.

“I fear the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region”, he said, adding that the Occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, had already been drawn in to the conflict to varying degrees.

There is clearly, in my view, a serious risk of aggravating existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security”.

The Secretary-General also reiterated his “unreservedly condemnation” of Hamas’ brutal attacks on Israel on 7 October, stressing that he is “appalled” by the reports of sexual violence.

“There is no possible justification for deliberately killing some 1,200 people, including 33 children, injuring thousands more, and taking hundreds of hostages,” he said, adding “at the same time, the brutality perpetrated by Hamas can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

“While indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields, are in contravention of the laws of war, such conduct does not absolve Israel of its own violations,” Mr. Guterres said.

“This is a sad day in the history of the Security Council”, but “we will not give up”, lamented the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, thanked the United States “for standing firmly by our side”.

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