The US Veto on Gaza Ceasefire

The US Veto on Gaza Ceasefire

On October 18, 2023, the United States used its veto power in the UN Security Council to block a resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” in Gaza. This event marked a significant point in the ongoing crisis between Israel and Gaza.

The Veto and the Resolution

The draft resolution, led by Brazil, received support from 12 out of the 15 members of the Council. However, the United States voted against it, with Russia and the United Kingdom abstaining. The resolution was intended to be the Council’s first public intervention in the Israel-Gaza crisis.

As one of the five permanent members of the Council (alongside China, France, Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom), the US’s veto meant that the resolution could not be passed.

Amendments Proposed by Russia

Russia proposed two amendments before the vote, calling for an immediate, durable, and full ceasefire, and to stop attacks against civilians. These amendments were rejected by the Security Council.

The US’s Justification

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield explained the US’s veto in the Council chamber, stating that the resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defence. She noted that this right is reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter and has been reaffirmed by the Council in previous resolutions on terrorist attacks.

Despite the veto, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield assured that the US would continue to work closely with all Council members on the crisis. She also highlighted the US’s engagement in on-the-ground diplomacy, including the visit of President Joseph Biden and other senior officials.

Reactions and Aftermath

The veto sparked criticism and disappointment among several members of the Security Council. The French representative, Nicolas de Rivière, expressed deep regret over the rejection of the text. He emphasized the importance of protecting civilians, granting humanitarian access, and respecting international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

The crisis in Gaza continues, with the international community closely watching the developments and hoping for a peaceful resolution.

Final Thoughts

The US’s veto on the Gaza ceasefire resolution underscores the complexities and challenges in addressing the Israel-Gaza crisis. It also highlights the critical role of the UN Security Council and its permanent members in shaping international responses to such crises. As the situation evolves, the need for diplomatic solutions that prioritize humanitarian concerns and uphold international law remains paramount.