US Vetoes UN Security Council Action on Israel and Gaza: Examining the Implications for International Relations

UN Security Council

The United States has vetoed a resolution by the United Nations Security Council that would have called for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip. The vote on the Brazilian-drafted text was twice delayed, as the US tried to broker aid access to Gaza.

Twelve UN members voted in favour of a draft text, with Russia and Britain abstaining. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the importance of direct diplomacy, shielding Israel from Security Council action.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia criticized the Council for hypocrisy and double standards. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to allow for the release of hostages and humanitarian aid access to Gaza. Russia has requested an emergency special session on the conflict, where it could decide to put a draft resolution to a vote.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is facing a dangerous abyss, with the United Nations Security Council addressing the situation via video from Doha. China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun accused the United States of leading council members to believe a resolution could be adopted without opposition during negotiations. Thomas-Greenfield blamed Hamas for the Gaza humanitarian crisis and expressed disappointment that the draft resolution did not mention Israel’s rights of self-defense.

The United States is working with Israel, its neighbours, the United Nations, and other partners to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. International diplomacy is focusing on brokering a humanitarian pause near the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza to allow aid delivery. U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths called for a mechanism agreed by all relevant parties to allow for regular provision of emergency needs throughout Gaza.

The draft resolution calls for Israel to reverse its decision to relocate civilians and U.N. staff in Gaza and condemns Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Israel ordered 1.1 million people in Gaza to move south as it prepares for a ground offensive in retaliation for the worst Hamas attack on civilians in Israel’s 75-year-old history.

The resolution also urges Israel to protect civilians, as they must be protected. Israel has imposed a complete siege on Gaza, aiming to eliminate Hamas, following a militant attack on October 7 that killed 1,400 people and seized hostages.

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