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Business News/ News / World/  Israel-Hamas War: US vetoes United Nations resolution on Gaza ceasefire for third time
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Israel-Hamas War: US vetoes United Nations resolution on Gaza ceasefire for third time

Of the 15-member council, 13 voted in favour of the Algerian-drafted resolution, while Britain abstained. This marks the third US veto of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza

Algeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Amar Bendjama votes in favour as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield vetos a vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza (Reuters/ Mike Segar)Premium
Algeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Amar Bendjama votes in favour as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield vetos a vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza (Reuters/ Mike Segar)

The United States exercised its veto power at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, blocking a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, Reuters reported.

The resolution, put forward by Algeria, sought an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, while the US has pressed for a temporary ceasefire tied to the release of hostages held by Hamas. Of the 15-member council, 13 voted in favour of the Algerian-drafted resolution, while Britain abstained.

This marks the third US' veto of a resolution since the current war began on October 7. The US had also previously used its veto to block an amendment to a resolution in December, the Reuters report added.

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For a UN Security Council resolution to be adopted, at least nine votes in favour are required, with no vetoes from any of the five permanent members: the US, UK, France, Russia, or China.

Stances Before the Vote

Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama argued in favour of the resolution, stressing it as support for the Palestinians' right to life. On the other hand, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed concerns that the resolution could hinder ongoing talks involving the US, Egypt, Israel, and Qatar aimed at securing a pause in the conflict and the release of hostages.

Earlier on February 17 too Thomas-Greenfield stated that demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire without an agreement on the release of hostages could potentially prolong the conflict.

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The Algerian-drafted resolution, which the US vetoed, did not link the ceasefire to the release of hostages, but separately called for both an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages.

The resolution demanded a halt to the conflict, which has claimed over 29,000 lives in Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities; and has displaced over 80 percent of the population, as per an Al Jazeera report.

Reactions and US Counter-Proposal

The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, criticised the US veto, stating it sends a message allowing Israel to continue actions without consequences.

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Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan argued against the focus on a ceasefire, contending it would ensure the survival of Hamas.

In response, the US has proposed its own draft resolution, advocating for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. This marks a departure from the country's previous reluctance to use the term 'ceasefire' in UN actions related to the conflict. The proposed resolution supports a temporary ceasefire contingent on the release of hostages and calls for unimpeded humanitarian assistance.

Background and General Assembly Action

The current conflict began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostages. In December, the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, reflecting global sentiment on the conflict. Washington's new resolution is the second attempt since October to address the situation at the Security Council.

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Russia and China had previously vetoed the US' first attempt in late October. Despite traditionally shielding Israel from UN actions, the US had abstained twice before, allowing resolutions supporting aid to Gaza and calling for pauses in fighting to be adopted.

(With inputs from Reuters and Al Jazeera)

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Published: 21 Feb 2024, 08:41 AM IST
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