UNITED NATIONS, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday vetoed a U.N. Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, diplomatically isolating Washington while Protect your ally.
Thirteen Security Council members voted in favor of a short draft resolution, tabled by the United Arab Emirates, while Britain abstained. The vote came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an unusual move on Wednesday to formally warn the 15-member council of a global threat arising from a two-month war.
“It’s not a question of isolation. It’s a question of what we think is best to try to end this conflict as soon as possible and also help facilitate more humanitarian assistance to reach Gaza,” the deputy US ambassador told reporters before the UN, Robert Wood. before the vote.
“We can’t just snap our fingers and the conflict stops. This is a very, very difficult situation,” he said.
The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Instead, Washington supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
A seven-day pause, in which Hamas freed some hostages and increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, ended on December 1.
After several failed attempts to take action, last month the Security Council called pauses in the fight to allow aid access to Gaza, which Guterres described on Friday as a “spiraling humanitarian nightmare.”
The United States favors its own diplomacy, rather than Security Council action, to secure the release of more hostages and pressure Israel to better protect civilians in Gaza as it retaliates for the Hamas attack that Israel says killed 1,200 people.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged on Thursday that there was a “gap” between Israel’s intention to protect civilians and what has happened on the ground. Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 17,480 people have died.
Israel bombed Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground offensive. The vast majority of the Palestinian enclave’s 2.3 million residents have been expelled from their homes.
“There is no effective protection of civilians,” Guterres told the council earlier on Friday. “People in Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs, bouncing between ever-shrinking swaths of the south, lacking any of the basics to survive. But nowhere in Gaza is safe.”
In Washington, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters earlier on Friday that if the Security Council does not adopt the resolution, “it is giving Israel a license to continue its massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.” “.
In addition to demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the draft text said Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, told the Security Council earlier on Friday that there was a ceasefire that Hamas had broken on October 7.
“The irony is that regional stability and the security of both Israelis and Gazans can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated, not a minute sooner,” Erdan said. “So the real way to ensure peace is only by supporting Israel’s mission; not at all by calling for a ceasefire.”
Reporting by Michelle Nichols, additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Jonathan Landay; editing by Susan Heavey, Frances Kerry, Mark Heinrich, Jonathan Oatis, and Cynthia Osterman
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