World leaders, UN officials as well as international rights groups have criticised the United States for vetoing a UN resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
A UN resolution failed to pass on Friday, December 8, 2023, at the UN Security Council after the United States vetoed the proposal and Britain abstained.
The remaining 13 of the 15 current members of the UN Security Council voted in favour of the resolution put forward by the United Arab Emirates.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood told the council that the draft resolution was a rushed, imbalanced text “that was divorced from reality, that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way.”
“We do not support this resolution’s call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war,” he said.
Expressing frustration, the UAE’s Deputy UN Ambassador, asked the Security Council, “What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?
He added, “Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?”
Ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, said at the UNSC, “Unfortunately once again this council has failed with a lack of unity, and by refusing to commit to negotiations the crisis in Gaza is getting worse and the council is not completing its mandate under the charter.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the U.S veto was “a disgrace and another blank cheque given to the occupying state to massacre, destroy and displace.”
Palestine’s UN envoy Riyad Mansour told the UNSC that the result of the vote was “disastrous.”
“If you are against the destruction and displacement of the Palestinian people you must stand against this war. And if you support it then you are enabling this destruction and displacement regardless of your intentions … Millions of Palestinian lives hang in the balance. Every single one of them is sacred, worth saving.”Riyad Mansour
Hamas strongly condemned the US veto, saying that it considers Washington’s move “unethical and inhumane.”
“The US obstruction of the issuance of a ceasefire resolution is a direct participation with the occupation in killing our people and committing more massacres and ethnic cleansing,” Izzat al-Risheq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said in a statement.
U.S Accused Of Having Double Standards
Permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, told the council: “Condoning the continuation of fighting while claiming to care about the lives and safety of people in Gaza is self-contradictory. Condoning the continuation of fighting while advocating for the prevention of the spillover effects of the conflict is self-deceiving. Condoning the continuation of fighting while making references to the protection of women and children and human rights is hypocritical. All these once again show us what double standards are.”
“It’s extremely disappointing and regrettable … Although the resolution was vetoed, the overwhelming view of the international community is clear: an immediate humanitarian ceasefire is the overriding priority,” he later said in a post on X.
Avril Benoit, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, USA, said, “By vetoing this resolution, the US stands alone in casting its vote against humanity. The US veto stands in sharp contrast to the values it professes to uphold. By continuing to provide diplomatic cover for the ongoing atrocities in Gaza, the US is signaling that international humanitarian law can be applied selectively — and that the lives of some people matter less than the lives of others …. The US veto makes it complicit in the carnage in Gaza.”
The human rights watch released a statement saying: “By continuing to provide Israel with weapons [and] diplomatic cover as it commits atrocities, including collectively punishing the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, the US risks complicity in war crimes.”
Posting on X, HRW’s former executive director, Kenneth Roth, said: “The US government vetoes a UN Security Council call for a Gaza ceasefire. The US cites Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas, but does Biden really think that pummeling Palestinian civilians in Gaza is accomplishing that? Or building the next Hamas?”