Israel-Hamas conflict: US vetoes resolution on Gaza which called for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’

The United States on Friday (December 8, 2023) vetoed a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Friday (December 8, 2023) morning New York time to discuss the catastrophic situation in Gaza.

A wide view of the UN Security Council chambers as members meet on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Photo Courtesy:  UN Photo/Loey Felipe

This follows Wednesday’s (December 6, 2023) urgent letter by Secretary-General António Guterres – one of the most powerful tools at his disposal – urging the body to help end carnage in the war-battered enclave through a lasting humanitarian ceasefire.

A resolution tabled late afternoon in the chamber calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire was vetoed by the United States.

The vote just took place, with 13 members in favour.

The US voted AGAINST, with the UK abstaining. Owing to the US veto, the resolution was not therefore adopted.

Robert A. Wood, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States (US) to the UN, said that the Security Council’s failure to condemn Hamas’ 7 October terrorist attacks, including its acts of sexual violence and other unthinkable evils, is a serious moral failure.

“It underscores the fundamental disconnect between the discussions we have been having in this chamber and the realities on the ground,” he said.

An “undeniable part of that reality”, he added, is that if Israel unilaterally laid down its weapons today, Hamas would continue to hold hostages.

Ambassador Wood stated that as of today, Hamas continues to pose a threat to Israel and remain in charge of Gaza, stressing that no government would allow such as threat to continue to remain on its borders, after events like the 7 October massacres.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider Deputy Permanent Representative Robert A. Wood of the United States addresses the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Ceasefire will ‘plant seeds for the next war’

“For that reason, while the US strongly supports a durable peace in which both Israel and Palestine can live in peace and security, we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire. This would only plant the seeds for the next war, because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-State solution,” he said.

In his remarks, the Ambassador said that Israel must respect international humanitarian law and conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian harm.

To back up these words and protect civilians, the US has supported establishing an effective humanitarian deconfliction mechanism with the UN, where it also monitors implementation.

“In every conversation we also have underscored that Israel must avoid further mass displacement of civilians in the south of Gaza, many of whom previously fled violence,” he said, adding, “Israel must further ensure sufficient humanitarian support exists for displaced individuals.”

He also noted that civilians displaced in Gaza must have an opportunity to return as soon as conditions permit.

“There must be no enduring displacement or reduction in Gaza’s territory. Under no circumstances would the US support forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank,” he said.