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US vetoes UN resolution condemning violence against civilians in Israel-Hamas war


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution Wednesday condemning all violence against civilians in Israel’s war with Hamas and calling for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, saying it was too early to develop an appropriate Security Council response to the crisis. .

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the council must allow current diplomatic efforts, including those of President Joe Biden, to unfold and first uncover more facts on the ground. She also criticized the measure for failing to emphasize Israel’s right to self-defense.

The Brazilian-sponsored resolution enjoyed broad support and would have condemned all violence against civilians, including “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas” against Israel. The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor, with the United States against, with Russia and Britain abstaining.

Thomas-Greenfield said Biden was in the region and engaging in diplomatic activities in hopes of protecting civilians, securing the release of hostages and preventing the spread of conflict. “We must let this diplomacy play its role,” she said.

She said the Security Council must speak out, but it must be “informed of the facts on the ground and support direct diplomatic efforts that can save lives – the Council must get it right.”

The US ambassador criticized the resolution for saying nothing about Israel’s right to self-defense following Hamas’ surprise attacks on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 people in Israel. Since then, the Gaza Health Ministry says nearly 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 12,000 injured.

British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward also criticized the resolution’s failure to mention Israel’s right to self-defense.

The vote and debate follow Tuesday’s massive explosion and fire at a Gaza City hospital filled with patients, relatives and Palestinians seeking shelter, in which the hospital said hundreds of people died. Hamas said it was an Israeli airstrike, while Israel blamed a misfiring rocket attack on the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. Islamic Jihad has denied any involvement.

Council members rejected two proposed Russian amendments to the resolution, which fell short of the minimum nine “yes” votes. One called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” and the other would condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians and “civilian objects” in Gaza, including hospitals and schools.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said the Brazilian resolution, which called for “humanitarian pauses” in delivering aid, would not have prevented Tuesday’s explosion at the hospital from Gaza. “Only a ceasefire will achieve this,” he said.

He told Council members who abstained or opposed the Russian amendments – the United States voted against both – that they will have to “take responsibility” for what is now happening to people in their own countries, for region, “and to the people who live under this regime. mortal threat. »

Nebenzia accused the United States of “hypocrisy” and “double standards,” saying the Americans did not want a solution in the Security Council.

Brazil’s UN ambassador, Sérgio França Danese, current council president, called the rejected resolution “robust and balanced.” stressing that it also calls for the immediate release of all hostages, the protection of Gaza civilians from forced displacement and the “ethical necessity” of providing them with food, fuel, water and medicine .

“Unfortunately, very unfortunately, the Council was once again unable to adopt a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said. “The paralysis of the Council in the face of a humanitarian catastrophe is not in the interest of the international community. »

France, China, the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative to the Security Council and many other Council members have also expressed regret and disappointment over the US veto.

The divided Security Council has become even more polarized since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and the votes on the Brazilian resolution reflect these divisions.

Immediately after Tuesday’s votes and speeches, the council began an emergency meeting – called by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and China – to discuss the Gaza hospital explosion.

The council’s actions came amid frenzied diplomatic efforts to prevent the spread of conflict between Israel and Hamas, including Biden’s whirlwind trip to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths noted in a video briefing from Doha, Qatar, that Tuesday’s massive explosion deprived Gaza of a hospital that treated more than 45,000 patients a year .

After the hospital explosion, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked out of a meeting with Biden, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and King Abdullah II of Jordan, leading the Jordanians to cancel the meeting.

The 22-member Arab Group expressed “outrage” at the hospital deaths and called for an immediate ceasefire to avoid further Palestinian casualties and the opening of a corridor to transport safely helps millions of people in Gaza.

Egypt’s UN Ambassador Osama Mahmoud told reporters that a summit would take place on Saturday in Cairo as planned with regional leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The five permanent Security Council countries are also invited, he said.

Mahmoud said the summit will address the humanitarian crisis triggered by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how to achieve a ceasefire and whether there is “a serious attempt to have a political horizon” to tackle the problems that block an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland told the emergency council meeting: “I fear we are on the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli conflict -Palestinian, or even the Middle East as a whole. »

After a century of conflict and half a century of Israeli occupation, he said the international community had “collectively failed” to help Israel and the Palestinians reach a political settlement. And he warned that the events following the Hamas attacks “served to reignite grievances and reanimate alliances in the region.”

Wennesland said the immediate goals must be unrestricted humanitarian access to Gaza and the release of hostages, followed by collective action to end hostilities and prevent an expansion of the conflict. Beyond that, he said, there must be an international effort to find “a political horizon” for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – not “a patchwork” of “temporary solutions.”


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