US vetoes UNSC resolution urging Israel to ceasefire in besieged Gaza for aid delivery

US vetoes UNSC resolution urging Israel to ceasefire in besieged Gaza for aid delivery

UITED NATIONS, Feb 20 (APP): For the third time, the United States exercised its veto power to kill a UN Security Council resolution, submitted by Algeria, tyat called for an immediate cease-fire in the deadly Israeli war against Gaza.

Thirteen of the 15-member Council voted for the resolution, with Britain abstaining.

In a parallel move, the U.S. has proposed an alternative resolution asking for a halt in fighting “as soon as practicable.”

Humanitarian agencies, U.N. officials and other diplomats have argued that without a cease-fire, humanitarian aid at the scale that Gaza needs is not possible.

The United States said that the resolution would jeopardize Washington’s ongoing negotiation efforts with Qatar and Egypt to broker a deal that would release hostages from Gaza in exchange for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire. Those negotiations have stumbled, with Israel demanding sicking to its stand for the immediate release of hostages.

“Any action the Council takes right now should help not hinder these sensitive and ongoing negotiations,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Demanding an immediate unconditional cease-fire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring endurable peace.”

Algeria’s Ambassador to the U.N., Amar Bendjama, sharply criticized the United States, telling the 15-member council that voting against the resolution “implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflected upon” the Palestinians. He said “silence is not a viable option, now is the time for action and the time for truth.”

The United States resolution, which is said to be in early stages of negotiations, calls for a temporary humanitarian cease-fire as soon as practical, and the release of hostages. It also states that Israel’s army must not carry out an offensive in Rafah under the current conditions there. More than a million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, many of them displaced multiple times, creating a dire humanitarian situation.

But diplomats at the United Nations have grown frustrated with the United States, saying it has prioritized its own diplomatic negotiations at the expense of the wider Council’s efforts, undermining the ability of the U.N. body to end fighting to provide critical aid to the besieged people.

In October, the United States vetoed a humanitarian resolution, put forth by Brazil, to deliver aid to Gaza at a time when Israel had placed the strip under a strict blockade of essential aid, saying it could undermine President Joe Biden’s efforts with the government of Israel to win aid delivery to Gaza.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the Algerian-led draft resolution was brought to the Council “precisely” because Israel persists with its onslaught “despite near unanimous” calls by the international community for a ceasefire.

He recalled the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures ordering Israel to cease all acts of genocide, incitement of genocide and ensure humanitarian access to the Palestinian people, who are facing death, starvation and repeated forced displacement “every day” across Gaza.

“It has been nearly three weeks since I last address the Council following the Court’s order, appealing for action to be taken to ensure the implementation of the provisional measures and ensure a ceasefire that would protect the Palestinian people and avert further ravaging of their lives by the Israeli onslaught,” he said.

“But our appeals have, regrettably, been to no avail,” he added, noting that since that day, the toll has risen from 26,000 Palestinians killed to almost 30,000 – with more than 69,000 injured.

“This means that in just the past 20 days alone, Israel has killed nearly 4,000 more Palestinian children, women and men, in just 20 days. This is a deplorable consequence of inaction,” he stated.

Ambassador Mansour said that Palestine together with an “unprecedented” number of countries approached the ICJ to “confront the Israeli impunity that has made life a living hell for Palestinian people.”

“Appealing for an immediate and complete end to this illegal colonial occupation and apartheid regime, the root cause of all the ills our people are suffering, including this genocidal war,” he added, noting that the ICJ acted swiftly both on the case brought forward by South Africa and the request for an advisory opinion by the General Assembly.

He questioned when the Security Council would “finally undertake its solemn duties” and act to demand the ceasefire that the vast majority of the world wants to see.

“The veto of this draft resolution is not only regrettable … but also absolutely reckless and dangerous, again shielding Israel even after it commits the most shocking crimes, while exposing millions of innocent Palestinian people to more untold horrors,” he said.

In his remarks, Benjama, the Algerian ambassador, said the failure to adopt the resolution does not absolve the Council of its mandate and the international community of its obligations.

“It is high time for the aggression to end” and for humanitarian assistance to reach all those in need across Gaza, he said.

The current situation requires everyone to provide protection to the Palestinian people and put an end to the historic injustice they have suffered, the ambassador said.

The people of his region have always looked to the Security Council – however, it has failed them once again.

“Our message for you today is that the international community should respond to the calls for ending the killing of Palestinians by calling for an immediate ceasefire,” he said.

“All those impeding such calls should review their policies and calculations because wrong decisions today will have a cost on our region and our world tomorrow. This cost will be violence and instability.”

Algeria will return tomorrow on behalf of the Arab world, of Muslim countries and the free people of the world, “powered by the souls of thousands of innocent people” killed by the Israeli occupation with no accountability whatsoever, he said.

“Algeria will return to knock on the doors of the Security Council once again to put an end to the bloodshed,” he said. “We will not stop until this Council shoulders its responsibility in full and imposes an immediate ceasefire. We will never tire, and we will never stop.

Russia and China condemned the U.S.’s veto. “It is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of the veto by the United States that has stifled the Council consensus,” said China’s ambassador, Zhang Jun, adding that while the U.S. vetoed the cease-fire, civilians were getting killed and suffering.

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