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US blocks UN Security Council demand for ceasefire in Israel’s genocidal war

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (2L) speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Gaza, at UN headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023. (AFP photo)

The United States has vetoed a United Nations Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Israel’s genocidal war on the besieged Gaza Strip despite mounting calls to stop the regime’s atrocities.

On Friday, 13 Security Council members voted in favor of a draft resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, while Britain abstained and the US vetoed it, isolating itself while sleiding Israel's aggression. 

“Tonight, the UK refused to back a UN resolution for a ceasefire,” said former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“We mourn those who will die because their lives were deemed unworthy of protection. And we vow to keep demonstrating in solidarity with the Palestinian people to end the bombings, blockades and occupation,” Corbyn added.

The vote came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres formally warned the 15-member council on Wednesday of a global threat from the two-month-long Israeli war against the defenseless people of Gaza.

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

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood called the draft resolution an imbalanced text "that was divorced from reality."

"Although the United States strongly supports a durable peace in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, we do not support this resolution's call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war," Wood claimed.

Washinton's ally London abstained. Britain's UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country abstained because there was no condemnation of Hamas.

"Israel needs to be able to address the threat posed by Hamas and it needs to do so in a manner that abides by international humanitarian law so that such attack can never be carried out again," she told the council.

Guterres convened the meeting on the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the besieged Palestinian territory, two months after Israel launched its air and ground strikes on the besieged territory.

The brutal war has so far killed more than 17,487 people and left the territory in ruins.

Wood told the meeting that Washington does not support a ceasefire.

The General Assembly, where the US has no veto power, overwhelmingly supported a humanitarian ceasefire. On Oct. 26, the assembly approved the cease-fire with 120 votes in favor and only 14 against the non-binding resolution.

UN inaction makes it complicit in Gaza slaughter: MSF

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday that the council is "complicit in the ongoing slaughter" in the Gaza Strip through inaction and vetoes.

The charity said that “the inaction of the United Nations Security Council and vetoes from member states, particularly the United States, make them complicit in the ongoing slaughter; this inaction has given license to the mass killing of men, women and children.”

The meeting was convened after Guterres activated Article 99  a step no one in his post has taken for decades. 

Demonstrators gather outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023. (AFP)

The article allows the secretary general to bring to the council’s attention “any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also rejected calls for a ceasefire as he addressed the Security Council.

Erdan once again threatened that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has to be “eliminated.”

Israel waged its war on Gaza on October 7, after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm into the occupied territories in response to Tel Aviv’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

In the event, the regime's leaders ordered Israeli military forces to attack the besieged Gaza Strip with a force “like never before.”

End 'decimation' of Palestinian lives in Gaza

The head of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) called on Friday for an end to the "decimation" of Palestinian lives in the territory.

Philippe Lazzarini urged all UN member states to "take immediate actions to implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

Diplomats from Arab countries call for immediate ceasefire

In a related development, chief diplomats from a grouping of Arab and Islamic nations, on a visit to Washington, called for an end to Israel’s war on Gaza.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on behalf of the group, called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

"Our message is we believe it is absolutely necessary to end the fighting immediately.”

He was in Washington as part of a visit of the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee.

Earlier this week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) condemned Israel's war crimes against Palestinians and called for a ceasefire, in remarks at the summit of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in Qatar.

He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is pushing the entire region into danger for the sake of his political future.”

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