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U.S. Vetoes U.N. Cease-Fire Resolution

For a third time, the United States on Tuesday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, claiming that the resolution would jeopardize a hostage-release deal.

The United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, along with Egypt and Qatar. This hostage deal would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks. And from there we could take the time to build a more enduring peace. But sometimes hard diplomacy takes more time than any of us might like. Still, that desire cannot blind us to the reality of the situation on the ground. It, and it cannot come at the expense of undermining the only, and let me repeat, the only path available toward a longer durable peace. And that is why you’ve heard me say over and over again, any action this council takes right now should help, not hinder these sensitive and ongoing negotiations. And we believe that the resolution on the table right now would, in fact, negatively impact those negotiations. Demanding an immediate, unconditional cease-fire 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.

For a third time, the United States on Tuesday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, claiming that the resolution would jeopardize a hostage-release deal.CreditCredit…Mike Segar/Reuters

The United States on Tuesday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution put forth by Algeria that would have called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. It was the third time Washington had blocked a resolution that would have demanded an immediate end to fighting.

Humanitarian agencies, U.N. officials and other diplomats have argued that without a cease-fire, humanitarian aid at the scale that Gaza needs is not possible. The U.N. spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said that the World Food Program, a U.N. agency, was suspending crucial food deliveries in northern Gaza, where the population was at the brink of starvation, because its staff could not operate safely and that the Council should find a unified voice on the war.

The United States said that the resolution would jeopardize Washington’s negotiation efforts with Qatar and Egypt to broker a deal that would release hostages from Gaza in exchange for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire. Those negotiations have stumbled, with neither Israel nor Hamas reaching a consensus on the terms for a deal.

“Any action the council takes right now should help, not hinder, these sensitive and ongoing negotiations,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Demanding an immediate unconditional cease-fire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring endurable peace.”

Thirteen council members voted in favor. Britain abstained.

Algeria’s ambassador to the U.N., Amar Bendjama, sharply criticized the United States, telling the council that voting against the resolution “implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon” the Palestinians. He said “silence is not a viable option, now is the time for action and the time for truth.”

The United States has drafted a rival resolution, which is still in early stages of negotiations, that calls for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire as soon as practical, and the release of hostages. The draft resolution, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, also states that Israel’s army must not carry out an offensive in Rafah under the current conditions there. More than a million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, many of them displaced multiple times.

The United States was expected to circulate its resolution on Tuesday afternoon among Council members to start negotiations, according to diplomats. Two Security Council diplomats said that the resolution would be challenged, given the U.S. veto on Tuesday, and that Russia and China were expected to veto and block the U.S. from imposing its views on the majority of the Council.

Diplomats said that a number of Council members were angry that a draft of the U.S. resolution had been leaked to the media and shared on social media ahead of the Council’s vote on Algeria’s resolution and before any Council members, including European allies, had had the chance to see it. They suggested that the U.S. appeared to want to do damage control before its veto.

But many of the diplomats have grown frustrated with the United States, saying it has prioritized its own diplomatic negotiations at the expense of the Council’s wider efforts, undermining the ability of the U.N. body to do its job. In October, the United States vetoed a humanitarian resolution, put forth by Brazil, to deliver aid to Gaza at a time when Israel had placed the strip under a strict blockade of essential aid, saying it could undermine President Biden’s efforts with the government of Israel to win aid delivery to Gaza.

Russia and China condemned the United States’ veto. “It is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of the veto by the United States that has stifled the Council consensus,” said China’s ambassador, Zhang Jun, adding that while the United States vetoed the cease-fire, civilians were getting killed and suffering.



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