The UN Security Council does not approve a US draft resolution on a ceasefire in Gaza News of the Israeli war on Gaza

The United Nations Security Council failed to pass a US draft resolution calling for, but not demanding, a ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza after two permanent members chose to veto it.

The project, which was presented to the Council on Friday, received 11 votes in favor, compared to three votes against – from Russia, China and Algeria – and Guyana abstained from voting.

Both Russia and China vetoed the resolution, which would have spoken of “the necessity of an immediate and sustainable ceasefire” and condemned the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Moscow accused Washington of a “hypocritical spectacle” that does not put pressure on Israel.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, said that the draft resolution is highly politicized and contains an “effective green light” for Israel to launch a military operation in the city of Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians reside.

Nebenzia said that there was no call for a ceasefire in the text of the resolution and accused the American leadership of “deliberately misleading the international community.”

China's representative, Zhang Jun, said the draft “evaded the most central issue, which is the ceasefire” through its “vague” language.

He added: “It also does not even provide an answer to the question of achieving a ceasefire in the short term.”

No “demand” for a ceasefire

While the United States promoted the measure as calling for a ceasefire, critics pointed out that the project fell short of calling for an end to the war.

The proposal supports the “necessity” of an “immediate and sustainable ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides,” and it differs from previous draft resolutions objected to by Washington, which called for an unconditional ceasefire.

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The American draft resolution also links the ceasefire to the ongoing talks to reach a truce agreement leading to the release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza.

“She's saying it's important for there to be a ceasefire. She doesn't seem to be demanding that,” Al Jazeera diplomatic correspondent James Baez, who obtained a copy of the draft resolution, said earlier this week.

He added: “It also directly links this ceasefire to the release of the remaining prisoners held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.”

After Friday's vote, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia had prioritized politics over progress by using its veto, adding that Russia and China were not doing anything useful to promote peace.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield addresses a UN Security Council meeting in New York City, United States, on March 22, 2024. [Mike Segar/Reuters]

Alternative draft resolutions

The United States, Israel's closest ally, used its veto power against three resolutions calling for a ceasefire, the last of which was an Arab-backed measure supported by 13 members of the Security Council, with one member abstaining from voting on February 20.

The previous day, the United States circulated a competing resolution, which underwent major changes during negotiations before the vote on Friday.

Initially meant to support a temporary ceasefire linked to the release of all hostages, the earlier draft would have supported international ceasefire efforts as part of the hostage deal.

Algeria's ambassador to the United Nations, Ammar Benjamea, said on Friday that if the council had issued its decision in February, thousands of innocent lives could have been saved. More than 32,000 Palestinians – most of them women and children – have been killed since the war began last October.

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Benjemaa said that these numbers represent lives “and hopes shattered,” adding that the American text did not indicate Israel’s responsibility for their deaths.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said there was “nothing new” in the US draft resolution, stressing that it expressed Washington’s permanent position of supporting a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as part of a deal. Hostages.

Kirby accused Russia and China of rejecting the proposal “simply” because it was written in the United States.

Meanwhile, the 10 elected members of the Security Council are drafting their own resolution, demanding that the immediate humanitarian ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on March 10, be respected by all parties leading to a permanent and sustainable ceasefire.

It also demands “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and stresses the urgent need to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France would also work to issue a new United Nations resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Macron said at the conclusion of his speech: “After the veto used by Russia and China a few minutes ago, we will resume work on the basis of the French draft resolution in the Security Council and we will work with our American, European and Arab partners to reach an agreement.” During the European Union leaders' summit in Brussels.

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