UN Security Council rejects US resolution on Gaza ceasefire | Israel's War on Gaza News

Russia and China vetoed a US proposal that critics say would have called for an end to Israel's war on Gaza.

The UN Security Council failed to pass a US-drafted resolution calling for a ceasefire in Israel's ongoing war on Gaza after two permanent members vetoed it.

The draft tabled in the House on Friday received 11 votes in favor, three against from Russia, China and Algeria, and one abstention from Guyana.

Both Russia and China exercised their vetoes against the resolution, which would have called for an “immediate and lasting ceasefire” and condemned the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Moscow accused Washington of a “hypocritical display” that did not put pressure on Israel.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the draft was highly politicized and an “effective green light” for Israeli military action in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, home to more than 1.5 million Palestinians.

Nepenzia, who said the text of the resolution contained no call for a ceasefire, accused the US leadership of “deliberately misleading the international community”.

China's representative, Zhang Jun, called the draft “the most central issue of the ceasefire” through its “vague” language.

“It does not even provide an answer to the question of the implementation of the ceasefire in the short term,” he said.

There is no 'request' for a ceasefire

Although the US promoted the move as calling for a ceasefire, critics pointed out that the draft fell short of calling for a ceasefire.

Unlike previous draft resolutions vetoed by Washington that called for an unconditional cease-fire, the proposal supports an “impulse” for “an immediate and lasting ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides.”

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The US draft resolution also links the cease-fire to ongoing negotiations to secure a cease-fire agreement to free Israelis held captive in Gaza.

“It says it is important to have a ceasefire; It doesn't appear to be asking for one,” Al Jazeera's diplomatic correspondent James Pace, who obtained a copy of the draft resolution, said earlier this week.

“Furthermore, it directly links the ceasefire to the release of the remaining prisoners held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.”

After Friday's vote, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia had used its veto to prioritize politics over progress and that Russia and China had done nothing meaningful to advance peace.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield addresses the UN Security Council meeting on March 22, 2024 in New York City, USA [Mike Segar/Reuters]

Alternative draft resolutions

The United States, Israel's closest ally, has vetoed three resolutions calling for a cease-fire, with the most recent pro-Arab measure supported by 13 council members with one abstention on February 20.

A day earlier, the United States circulated a competing resolution that underwent major changes during negotiations ahead of Friday's vote.

It would have initially supported a temporary ceasefire linked to the release of all hostages, and would have supported international efforts for a ceasefire as part of an earlier draft hostage agreement.

On Friday, Algeria's UN ambassador, Amar Bendjama, said thousands of innocent lives could have been saved if the council had passed its February resolution. More than 32,000 Palestinians – mostly women and children – have been killed since the war began last October.

The figures represent lives lost and “destroyed hopes,” Bendjama said, adding that the U.S. text did not mention Israel's responsibility for their deaths.

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Meanwhile, the 10 elected members of the Security Council are drafting their own resolution, which calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire for the holy month of Ramadan, which began on March 10, “to be respected by all parties leading to a permanent and sustainable ceasefire”.

It calls for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and stresses the urgent need to protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance throughout the Gaza Strip.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France would also act on a new UN resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Following the veto of Russia and China a few minutes ago, we are going to resume work on the basis of the French draft resolution in the Security Council and we will reach an agreement with our American, European and Arab partners,” Macron said at the end. European Union Leaders' Summit in Brussels.

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