On Friday, December 8, out of fifteen countries, the United States was the only party to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. According to the U.S. representative to the UN, the proposed resolution "would not move the needle on the ground in any concrete way."
Days prior, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres invoked Article 99, so that he may “bring to attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Regional sources report on the vote:
Ahead of the vote on Friday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that, should the Security Council not adopt the resolution, “it is giving Israel a license to continue with its massacre of Palestinians in Gaza,” according to Haaretz.
The same day, reported in The Jerusalem Post, Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council that “the irony is that regional stability and the security of both Israelis and Gazans can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated, not one minute before. So the true path to ensure peace is only through supporting Israel’s mission-absolutely not to call for a ceasefire.”
Arab News reported on the vote’s outcome, explaining that “China, France, and Russia, along with the ten non-permanent current members of the Council - Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates - voted for the resolution. The UK abstained.” With the U.S. being the only vote against the call for a ceasefire, “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US veto made it ‘complicit’ in war crimes in Gaza and that the US was ‘responsible for the bloodshed’ of children.”
The U.S. veto of the resolution drew global condemnation, as explained by Iran’s Mehr News Agency. In particular, the source noted that Zhang Jun, China’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., emphasized “the international community’s overwhelming support for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire despite the veto.” Echoing disapproval of the U.S.’ vote, Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi stated: “I deeply regret that the United States should sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians for the cause of Zionism.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres persisted: “Regrettably the Security Council failed to [pass a ceasefire resolution] but that does not make it less necessary. So, I can promise I will not give up,” as quoted by the Saudi Gazette. Guterres further stated that divisions within the Security Council were “undermining solutions from Ukraine to Myanmar and the Middle East.”
In the wake of the vetoed Security Council resolution, “Egypt and Mauritania on Monday invoked Resolution 377A(V) to call for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday,” as reported by Al-Jazeera. This rarely-utilized resolution states “that if the UNSC is not able to discharge its primary responsibility of maintaining global peace due to lack of unanimity, the UNGA can step in.” However, any recommendations which come out of such a meeting are legally non-binding.
Al-Arabiya elaborated: “The 193-member United Nations General Assembly is likely to vote Tuesday on a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”
(Image: UN Photo / Loey Felipe)