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US Veto Calling for an Immediate Ceasefire for the Third Time

Calls From Washington Support Appeal with Draft Resolution to UN Security Council Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire

By: Emily Reid

The United States has vetoed calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the third time, the vote cast by US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. This Algeria-drafted resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire is vetoed by the US amid concerns the resolution could jeopardise discussion between the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, as explained by Thomas-Greenfield.

The US had proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling only for a ‘temporary ceasefire’, and for Israel not to proceed with a planned attack on Rafah, where most Gazan refugees are currently displaced and seeking refuge. The draft resolution calls for the protection of civilians and the provision of humanitarian aid. Notably, it does not specifically include the involvement of Israel or its armed forces in this conflict. This text marks the first time the US has explicitly backed a ceasefire of some form since October 7th, 2023. However, the draft includes that the temporary pause should commence “as soon as practicable”, leaving some maneuvering room for the Israeli military.

The significance of the draft resolution, however, is a signal that Washington is willing to go through the UN to put pressure on the Israeli government. Originally it was unclear whether the resolution would be passed or even submitted to a vote. To pass, a resolution requires at least nine votes in favour with no vetoes by the five permanent members - the US, the UK, France, Russia and China. The US was the only vote against a ceasefire resolution put forward by Algeria, with the UK abstaining. Washington has been criticised for vetoing again at a time when the Gazan death rate is close to 30,000, and while more than 2 million are at risk of extreme famine.

By: 995645 from Pixabay

“Silence is not a viable option. Now is the time for action and the time for truth.” Amar Bendjama, the Algerian envoy to the UN, told the council.

According to a text seen by the Guardian, the US draft resolution states the security council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighbouring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

The timing of the United States’ third ceasefire veto is disconcerting for the nation as Washington pursues international solidarity in condemnation of Russia on the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Said Richard Gowan, the UN director of the International Crisis Group, “It is awfully embarrassing for the Americans. They’ve had to use a veto just days before the Security Council meeting commemorating Russia’s all-out assault on Ukraine. That will simply fuel talk about US double standards.”

Thomas-Greenfield explained that the US “is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, which would bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks.” This is widely seen as a display of Biden’s frustration with Netanyahu’s government and at the US President’s failure to contribute effectively and meaningfully in the Gaza offensive, now in its fifth month. By opposing an Israeli offensive on Rafah, the US could be trying to limit the options of Netanyahu and advance negotiations about a ceasefire deal.


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