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U.S. Widely Slammed for Vetoing Draft UNSC Resolution on Humanitarian Truce in Gaza

The United States on Wednesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, inciting wide criticism amid mounting global concern over the escalating crisis there.

The Brazil-drafted proposal, if adopted, would have condemned all violence and hostilities against civilians and all acts of terrorism, and called for protecting all medical, humanitarian personnel, and medical facilities, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Twelve of the 15 members of the Security Council supported the draft, while the United States, with veto power, was the only council member to vote against it. Britain and Russia abstained.

The Brazilian draft in general reflects the common appeal across the international community, and could represent the initial steps by the council to establish a ceasefire. And it might be the only text on which the council could reach a consensus under the current circumstances, said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, after the vote on Wednesday.

“Certain countries talked about the importance for the council to take the right actions. However, the way they voted only makes us question their willingness to let the council take any actions and their sincerity to find a solution to the problem,” said Zhang.

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia criticized the U.S. veto as “another manifestation of hypocrisy and double standards.”

Brazilian UN ambassador Sergio Franca Danese regretted the fact that his country’s draft resolution was vetoed. “Sadly, very sadly, silence and inaction prevailed — to no one’s long-term interests,” he said.

“We support no less than a full humanitarian ceasefire,” said Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates’ permanent representative to the United Nations. “Each passing hour of this ruinous war makes a mockery of the principles of international humanitarian law.”

French UN ambassador Nicolas de Riviere told reporters his country deeply regrets that this text has been rejected, which means the Security Council missed an opportunity to reiterate the urgent obligation to allow the supply of first emergency necessities to the population of Gaza.

Other council members including Malta, Mozambique, Ghana, Gabon, Switzerland, and Ecuador also voiced regret over the rejection of Washington.

The number of Palestinian fatalities has exceeded 3,785, with over 13,000 individuals sustaining injuries since Oct. 7, said the health ministry in Gaza on Thursday.

In a press release Tuesday, UNESCO deplored “the deadliest week for journalists in any recent conflict” with journalists in the line of duty in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since Oct. 7. It called on all parties to respect and enforce international law to ensure journalists can continue to exercise their profession safely and independently.

On Tuesday night, an airstrike on the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip killed at least 471 Palestinians. Hamas said that Israel carried out the attack, while Israel said a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) caused the tragedy.

Hours after the deadly attack, Jordan canceled a quartet summit planned with Palestinians, Egyptian, and the United States.

Türkiye is ready to provide health services to the Gaza Strip, including sending a floating hospital to the region, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on social media Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden visited Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden said Washington would provide Israel with everything needed for defense.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held a phone talk with Biden Wednesday, and agreed on the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing “in a sustainable manner,” said an Egyptian presidential statement Thursday.

Relevant authorities in the two countries will coordinate with international humanitarian organizations under the supervision of the United Nations to secure the arrival of aid, it said.

In a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Cairo Wednesday, al-Sisi expressed Egypt’s firm support for the Palestinian people and strong opposition to any attempts to relocate them to the adjacent Sinai Peninsula.

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