The United States vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council Friday demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, as civilian casualties rise amid Israel’s military campaign against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, according to Politico.
The resolution, introduced by the United Arab Emirates, was a priority for UN Security General Antonio Guterres, who invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring the issue to the immediate attention of the Security Council. Guterres had urged member states to demand an immediate cease-fire in light of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip.
It was supported by 13 out of the 15 members of the Security Council. The US, which holds veto power as a permanent member, voted against the resolution. The United Kingdom, another permanent member, abstained.
“We do not support calls for an immediate cease-fire,” Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said Friday in New York. “This would only plant the seeds for the next war, because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-state solution.”
Condemnation for the veto from human rights groups and NGOs was swift. Human Rights Watch said in a statement Friday that “[by] continuing to provide Israel with weapons & diplomatic cover as it commits atrocities, including collectively punishing the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, the US risks complicity in war crimes.”
Although the US regularly uses its veto power to block resolutions that are critical of Israel and the Israeli government’s actions towards Palestinians, the Friday veto comes as the international community increasingly voices its concerns with Israel’s military operations in Gaza.
Since Hamas mounted a deadly surprise attack on Israel on October 7, the U.S. has been Israel’s staunchest ally as it seeks to remove Hamas from the Gaza Strip, even as civilian casualties have mounted.
The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health has said Israeli airstrikes and operations have killed 17,000 Palestinians. Millions more are displaced.
The conflict has emerged as one of the biggest foreign policy challenges for the Biden administration, testing its support domestically among Muslim and Arab American voters and complicating its efforts in the Middle East to shore up relations with key allies and further normalization of diplomatic ties between the Arab world and Israel.