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Again Wielding Veto, US Strikes down UN Ceasefire Resolution

February 21, 2024

by: Mike Wagenheim ~ JNS

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Israelis protest against UNRWA, which has been directly linked to Hamas terrorism, at their offices in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 | The US again used its veto power at the United Nations [UN] Security Council to thwart a call for the imposition of a ceasefire on Israel.

Washington stood alone on Tuesday in voting down an Algeria-drafted resolution that demands an immediate humanitarian halt to hostilities in Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, along with the return of hostages still being held captive in Gaza since October 7 and the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid into the Strip.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told the 15-member council that the Biden administration is engaged in ongoing negotiations to bring about a six-week pause in the fighting. If adopted, the resolution on the table on Tuesday would “negatively impact those negotiations,” she said.

“Demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring about a durable peace,” she said. “Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel, extend the hostages’ time in captivity—an experience described by former hostages as ‘hell’—and extend the dire humanitarian crisis Palestinians are facing in Gaza.”

The UK abstained from the vote, which was 13-1. Nine votes were needed for passage, but the US, as one of the body’s five permanent members, can veto any Security Council resolution.

France supported the Algerian resolution, but its ambassador, Nicolas de Rivière, sided with Washington’s view that it is “incomprehensible” that the council has not directly condemned Hamas’s massacre. South Korea also expressed wishes for an explicit condemnation by the council of Hamas’s attacks.

“A majority of us also agree that it’s time for this council to condemn Hamas,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia accused Washington of covering for Israeli crimes and serving to “rule out” a two-state solution, furthering a degradation of ties between Moscow and Jerusalem. Zhang Jun, the Chinese UN ambassador, chided the US veto, saying it “sends the wrong message” and undermines council consensus.

Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, asked the Chinese envoy to push for the release of the hostages, including Noa Argamni, so that the latter’s mother, a terminally ill Chinese-Israeli citizen, can see her daughter again before she passes.

Erdan blasted the resolution’s supporters, saying its passage would only achieve the survival of Hamas and be a “death sentence” for Israelis and Gazans.

A ceasefire is the “epitome” of kicking the can down the road, which “means immunity for baby killers and rapists” and allowing Hamas to regroup and rearm, Erdan said.

He also took the global body to task for its “ostrich tactic” of burying its collective head in the sand when it comes to Hamas’s terror activities in Gaza. Erdan cited Israel’s longstanding, unheeded warnings about Hamas’s infiltration into UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees], the refugee agency under fire for its ties to October 7 massacre participants and the use of its facilities by Hamas.

“This is why every report, statement or number provided by the UN cannot be trusted,” Erdan said. “In Gaza, Hamas is the UN, and the UN is Hamas.”

Thomas-Greenfield used much of her microphone time on Tuesday to push for a freshly drafted, US-led resolution, which calls for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire “as soon as practicable,” along with several provisions in line with the Algerian resolution about hostage release and scaling up humanitarian aid.

The US draft specifically condemns Hamas’s massacre, including its documented sexual violence.

“The US text also makes clear that Hamas has no place in future governance of Gaza, nor does Hamas represent the dignity or self-determination of the Palestinian people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added that the draft would clarify the council’s disapproval of a major Israeli military offensive in Rafah under current circumstances.

The Israeli government and military say Rafah remains the final Hamas stronghold in Gaza and a military operation there is needed to root out the terror group.

“This is not, as some members have claimed, an American effort to cover for an imminent ground incursion,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “It is a sincere statement of our concern for the 1.5 million civilians who have sought refuge in Rafah.”

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Thomas-Greenfield said the Algerian resolution’s passage would have left hostages captive with no incentive for Hamas to release them.

Posted on February 21, 2024

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on February 20, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90/