US vetoes UN resolution on Gaza ceasefire

The situation in Gaza

Published 22 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
US President Joe Biden and his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog.

On Tuesday, the US used its veto power in the UN Security Council to block a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The move was sharply criticized by other member states, with China’s representative saying the US gives “green light to the continued slaughter”.

Of the 15 countries on the Security Council, only the US voted against the resolution, which was introduced by Algeria, while close ally Britain abstained. It should be noted that since October 7, the US has voted “no” three times on similar proposals and has been the most vocal in preventing the UN from taking action or making demands against Israel.

Algeria’s ambassador to the UN strongly criticized the US and Britain for their de facto support of the brutal violence suffered by the Palestinians.

However, the US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, argues that the veto was used so as not to interfere with the negotiations she is conducting with Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which are focused on the release of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

A call for a cease-fire can only be presented in conjunction with a demand for the release of the hostages, it says, and it has also drafted its own, much more vaguely worded resolution.

“Beyond shameful”

But China is highly critical of the US action, and its UN representative, Zhang Jun, says it gives “green light to the continued slaughter” and risks spreading the war across much of the Middle East.

– China expresses its strong disappointment at and dissatisfaction with the US veto, Zhang said, according to Reuters.

Swedish-Iranian political scientist Trita Parsi is also critical of the US and its alternative proposal for a UN resolution.

“The language on Rafah is strong for Biden standards and should be welcomed. But the language on a ceasefire is borderline insulting. The US draft does not demand a ceasefire but instead underscores its support for a temporary ceasefire, he wrote on Facebook.

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“Moreover, it does not require one immediately but rather ‘as soon as practicable’. A ceasefire is needed to make getting aid into Gaza practicable; a ceasefire is needed to make providing medical support practicable (incl for the hostages). Biden has turned this upside down. As the resolution reads, everything else may need to be fixed before a ceasefire is deemed practicable. As a result, Biden seems to aim to delay a ceasefire while pretending to secure one. That is beyond shameful, despite the relatively strong language on Rafah”, he continues.