US veto to halt the bloodshed in Gaza sparks global outcry

Ahram Online , Saturday 9 Dec 2023

Global outcry ensued as the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking a ceasefire in Gaza, further increasing Washington's diplomatic isolation for shielding Israel in its brutal war on the Palestinian territory.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood
US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood raises his hand during a United Nations Security Council meeting on a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza at UN headquarters in New York. AFP

Thirteen Security Council members voted in favour of a the resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates on Friday, while the United Kingdom abstained.

Russia's Deputy Charge d’Affaires, Dmitry Polyanskiy, fiercely criticized the United States and the United Kingdom for their respective actions—voting against and abstaining from supporting a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza. Polyanskiy labeled their actions as "complicit in a merciless Israeli bloodbath."

He expressed deep concern at the UN Security Council after the failed vote, stating, "The US's obstruction of a ceasefire is an American death sentence against thousands, or maybe dozens of thousands, of Palestinians in Gaza."

"One can speak cynically with nice empty words about democracy, human rights, women, peace, security, rules, order, as much as you like. However, the real value of those we have just witnessed when two members of the security council preferred to remain complicit to the merciless Israeli bloodbath," he said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said it was "a disgrace and another blank cheque given to the occupying state to massacre, destroy and displace."

Hamas also slammed on Saturday the US rejection of the ceasefire bid as "a direct participation of the occupation in killing our people and committing more massacres and ethnic cleansing."

The US veto was referred to as "a turning point in history" said Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of the State of Palestine to the UN.

"Instead of enabling this council to fulfill its mandate by unequivocally demanding an end to two months of massacres, the perpetrators are granted more time to continue their crimes. How can such actions be justified? How can anyone justify the annihilation of an entire population?" questioned Mansour.

"Hundreds, then thousands of lives will be lost, with children being killed, orphaned, and wounded for life, not by mistake, but by design," Mansour lamented, underscoring the disregard for Palestinian lives.

The ministerial delegation assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit expressed profound "dismay" over the US veto.

In a joint statement published by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign ministers reiterated their call on the US to shoulder its responsibilities and take necessary measures to compel Israel to immediately ceasefire.

What is the message?

China, which co-sponsored the draft, also expressed disappointment over the resolution's failure, s

Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said, "We express our deep disappointment and regret that the United States veto. Endorsing the ongoing conflict contradicts the professed concern for the lives and safety of individuals in Gaza."

Brazil also expressed its regret saying that the Security Council "risks complicity in allowing further human casualties."

"The price of inaction is unbearably high, and we may cause irreparable damage to the possibility of reaching a two-state solution," the Brazilian delegate to the Security Council said.

France, which refused to endorse all previous resolutions calling for a ceasfire, said "with the Council's failure, the crisis in Gaza is getting worse and is at risk of expanding."

Iran also warned of the threat of an "uncontrollable explosion" of the situation in the Middle East after the US veto.

Saudi Arabia foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan said it does not seem to be a priority for the international community to end the war in Gaza.

"One of the disturbing facts of this conflict is that ending the conflict and the fighting doesn't seem to be the main priority," he said from Washington DC.

​"What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?" Deputy UAE U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab asked the council.

"Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?"


Complicity in crime

The veto was swiftly condemned by humanitarian groups, with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) saying the Security Council was "complicit in the ongoing slaughter".

Human Rights Watch said "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."

Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard said the US decision to veto the resolution was “morally indefensible.”

"With this veto, the US government is shamefully turning its back on immense civilian suffering, staggering death toll, and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. And civilians are paying the price with their lives," executive director of Amnesty International Paul O'Brien posted on X.

"We are appalled at the failure of the UN Security Council to authorise a resolution demanding a humanitarian ceasefire and unconditional release of hostages held in Gaza," said seven aid agencies in a joint statement.

"Security Council members cannot ignore the horrific conditions in Gaza. Action must be guided by the urgent humanitarian imperative to stop fighting, rather than politics," declared Action Against Hunger, CARE International, Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam International, Plan International, and Save the Children International in their statement.

The resolution was endoresed by more than 100 countries.


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