The United States has vetoed a proposed United Nations Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. The vote came after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the council of a global threat from the two-month long war. The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The draft resolution was rushed, imbalanced, and did not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way. The U.S. had offered substantial amendments to the draft, including a condemnation of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that Israel says killed 1,200 people and in which 240 people were taken hostage. Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country abstained because there was no condemnation of Hamas.
Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour told the council the result of the vote was “disastrous,” adding that millions of Palestinian lives hang in the balance. Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan did not address the Security Council after the vote, but in a statement said: “A ceasefire will be possible only with the return of all the hostages and the destruction of Hamas.”
The United States favors its own diplomacy over Security Council action to win the release of more hostages and press Israel to better protect civilians in Gaza as it retaliates against Hamas.