On December 8, the US blocked international calls for the UN Security Council to take action in response to the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip and demand a ceasefire.
Washington vetoed the resolution, with 13 of the other 14 council members voting in favor and Britain abstaining.
The draft Resolution was tabled by the UAE, and was co-sponsored by nearly 100 other states. On the same day, UN Secretary General Guterres urged Council members to “spare no effort to achieve an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the protection of civilians and the urgent delivery of life-saving aid.” He added that “the eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching. It is time to act.” Guterres described apocalyptic scenes in Gaza, with attacks from the air, land and sea being so intense that they have hit 339 educational facilities, 26 hospitals, 56 medical facilities, 88 mosques and 3 churches. It is reported that more than 60% of housing in Gaza, or some 300,000 houses and apartments, has been destroyed or damaged. More than 85% of the population have been forced to flee their homes. Under such circumstances, said the UN Secretary General, the delivery of humanitarian aid has become impossible.
Russia’s UN envoy called the US actions a death sentence to thousands of civilians in Israel and Palestine, adding that it is no exaggeration to say that this day – December 8 – has become one of the blackest days in the history of the Middle East.
At the same time, the US has announced that it has sold nearly 14,000 tank shells and related equipment worth $106.5 million to Israel on an emergency basis.
As the Saudi newspaper Arab News insists, the USA’s use of its veto power on December 8 effectively constituted a “license to kill.” Meanwhile, nearly 18,000 people, mostly women and children, have already been killed in Gaza, and the number of wounded is approaching 50,000.
Brazil’s UN representative said that sooner or later, the members of the Security Council members must take responsibility and do the right thing, as dictated by humanitarian considerations.
And the French newspaper Le Monde noted in an editorial that Israel’s much trumpeted right to self-defense has turned into a right to destroy. The Le Monde article ends by stating that the American representative, trying to justify his veto, insisted that a truce would sow the seeds of a future war, and then asks the question: “as the bombs the country supplies to Israel continue to tear apart Gaza without sparing civilians, can Washington believe that these seeds of iron can produce anything in this bloody land other than unquenchable hatred?”
The US veto in the Security Council triggered a broad wave of condemnation from around the world, with particularly sharp criticism from human rights organizations, and some French newspapers noted that “Israel has lost the war in the Gaza Strip.”
A large number of representatives of various UN agencies are now expressing alarm at the catastrophe looming over Gaza: nearly half of the Strip’s population is suffering from hunger, and “all this may have irreversible implications for the Palestinians and the world at large.”
The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the health system in Gaza is on the verge of collapse.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described the US veto as “a disgrace and another blank cheque given to the occupying state to massacre, destroy and displace”. According to Avril Benoit, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, “By vetoing this resolution, the US stands alone in casting its vote against humanity. By continuing to provide diplomatic cover for the ongoing atrocities in Gaza, the US is signaling that international humanitarian law can be applied selectively — and that the lives of some people matter less than the lives of others …. The US veto makes it complicit in the carnage in Gaza.”
Oman’s foreign minister has called the use of the veto by the United States “a shameful affront to humanitarian norms,” while Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim voiced strong objection to Washington’s blocking of the UNSC resolution, calling it “strange and beyond human sanity”.
On December 10, demonstrations were held around the world in support of the Palestinians and demanding an immediate halt to hostilities, with mass protests taking place in cities in the UK, Western Europe and the US.
At the request of a number of Arab countries, an emergency session of the UN General Assembly will be held on December 12 to debate the draft Security Council resolution blocked by the United States.
Veniamin POPOV, Director of the Centre for Partnership of Civilisations, MGIMO (U) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Candidate of Historical Sciences, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.