US vetoes UN Security Council vote on Gaza ceasefire

With updates from Adnan El-Bursh in Gaza; Yolande Knell, Hugo Bachega, Alice Cuddy, Paul Adams and Jeremy Bowen in Jerusalem; Lina Sinjab in Lebanon; and Rushdi Abu Alouf in Istanbul.

We’re pausing our coverage

We’re pausing our live coverage for this evening, on a day when the US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Thirteen of the council’s 15 members supported the motion. The UK abstained.

The US, which can veto any resolution as one of five permanent members of the security council, said the proposal tabled by the United Arab Emirates was “imbalanced” and unrealistic. It criticised the resolution for failing to condemn the 7 October Hamas attacks that killed around 1,200 Israelis.

“This resolution essentially says that Israel should just tolerate this, that it should allow this terror to go unchecked,” the US representative said.

But the State of Palestine said the veto was “beyond regrettable”, adding that “millions of Palestinian lives hang in the balance. Every single one of them is sacred, worth saving”.

Earlier, Hamas officials in Gaza said Israel had killed more than 17,177 people in its campaign, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to do more to protect civilians, saying there is a “gap” between its promises and the reality on the ground.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old Palestinian has told the BBC how he was detained with dozens of others by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in northern Gaza on Thursday.

The man says he was forced to sit in the street for hours, handcuffed and blindfolded, before being driven away. An Israeli official said the soldiers were searching for Hamas members.

Oxfam says veto marks ‘nail in the coffin for US human rights credibility’

Oxfam America’s CEO says US President Joe Biden’s administration has missed an opportunity to “live up to its lofty rhetoric supporting human rights and a rules-based international order”.

In a statetment, Abby Maxman says the world is “ready for the horrific carnage in Gaza to end and focus on the release of hostages and helping Palestinians rebuild their lives”.

The US veto of the UN’s ceasefire resolution puts “another nail in the coffin for US credibility on matters of human rights,” adds Maxman.

Maxman says the US has “rightly maintained that Israel has the right to defend its people from attacks,” but says the White House “has not leveraged its special relationship with Israel to end this spiraling crisis”.

The Oxfam director calls for “a future without the threat of another October 7 attack or crushing blockade”.

US isolated in its defence of Israel at UN

The United States has historically shielded its ally Israel from almost all criticism in the UN Security Council. So, in many ways, today’s outcome was expected.

But given the enormity of the human suffering in Gaza, many non-governmental organisations believe today’s veto damages America’s credibility on human rights.

“A vote against humanity,” the medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, called it.

The US is finding itself increasingly isolated on the international stage. In less than 24 hours, 97 nations signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution – symbolically voting alongside the 13 council members who want a ceasefire urgently.

The Biden administration argues a ceasefire will benefit Hamas, and has stepped up pressure on Israel to protect civilians. But some at the UN accuse it of being complicit in the consequences of Israel’s military operation.

The risk is that the conflict will come to be seen as America’s, and not just Israel’s war.

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