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US Warns of Potential Veto on Proposed Gaza Ceasefire Resolution at UN Security Council

  • Paul Smith
  • February 27, 2024

    A resolution by Algeria called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was presented at the UN on Feb 20, 2024. The United States vetoed the resolution, saying the Gaza ceasefire would disrupt the negotiations to free hostages. This act of the US drew lament from most diplomats and aid workers.

    The US has already warned of a potential veto on this proposal, and it’s the third time it has vetoed the ceasefire resolution at the UN Security Council.

    The Counter Draft by the US on Israel-Gaza Ceasefire

    Algeria penned a draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire to avert the massive humanitarian crisis during the Israel-Hamas war. The Biden administration offered an alternative draft to the debate and sought other council members to support it.

    The draft also marked the first US-backed truce since the war began. The counter-resolution further states that a temporary truce should be implemented “as soon as practicable”. This draft by the US also signaled that if Israel prepares a large-scale ground attack on Rafah, it will worsen the situation where 2.3 million Gazans are now seeking refuge.

    The context of this document aligns with Biden’s recent comments. It indicates that the US is ready to use the UN and exert pressure on Israel instead of just relying on bilateral communication.

    Why the US Vetoed the Gaza Ceasefire Draft Resolution

    The United States used its veto power and presented a rival draft. This text condemns Hamas while supporting a temporary ceasefire. According to Linda Thomas Greenfield, the draft resolution by Algeria can have a sensitive impact and will harm the ongoing negotiations between Hamas and Israel.

    Linda Thomas expressed the US concern that a ceasefire at this moment will disrupt diplomatic efforts to save hostages and to achieve a lasting ceasefire. The US also faced strong opposition from Russia and China, who are against the third use of a veto by the USA on the Gaza ceasefire.

    The council members also condemn the continued suffering of innocent civilians and criticize Israel’s possible military operation into Rafah.

    Ceasefire Resolution

    Impact of the US Veto

    Rafah is a southern city in Gaza, which shares its border with Egypt. It was home to 250,000 people before the war, and now more than a million displaced Palestinians are crammed into this city. The displaced Gaza citizens are already facing unparalleled brutality with scarce safe drinking water or food.

    The UN has also issued warnings that Israel’s offense against Rafah led to the slaughter of more Palestinian women and children, and the entire population of Gaza is the victim of this assault.

    Israel is legally bound to follow any resolution at the Security Council. Although Linda Thomas explained why it is not the right time for an immediate Israel-Gaza ceasefire, Washington is under immense international pressure to draw a close to Israel’s aggressive operations.

    Impact on Palestinians

    As Israel is ready to attack Rafah, previously designated as a safe zone, the language of the US draft falls short of an immediate ceasefire as wished by other council members. This led to additional suffering for the already devastated 1.5 million Gazans who were displaced from the northern part and sought shelter in Rafah.

    People now face the possibility of being displaced from Rafah, with most of the infrastructure being destroyed in other parts. When Israel airstrikes already kill the 29 thousands Palestinians, Rafah’s offense by Israel will cause immense harm and loss of civilian lives.

    Impact on the Biden Administration

    According to Frank Lowenstein (the US special envoy for Middle East peace by President Obama), now there is a significant shift in American policy.

    Primarily this is the first time when the US has called for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza at the UN. There is no doubt that the Biden administration is experiencing significant frustration. They have consistently ignored the duty to provide humanitarian assistance and to lessen the civilian casualties. Now, Israel’s Rafah invasion will be vehemently opposed.

    President Biden is also under Arab-American pressure to halt the killings of Palestinians, and the American ceasefire resolution is against Israel’s will.

    Conclusion

    More than a million displaced people are taking shelters in Rafah and have nowhere else to go. The forced displacement of civilians, suspension of financing UNRWA, carpet bombing, and ever-escalating starvation are devastating the situation. An immediate and lasting ceasefire is the only way to pause this humanitarian crisis.

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