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Washington says it will again veto UNSC ceasefire resolution

The draft resolution could “run counter” to goals the White House believes can still be reached through diplomacy, says U.S. U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, at the U.N. Security Council Open Debate on Multilateralism on May 7, 2021. Credit: Freddie Everett/U.S. State Department.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, at the U.N. Security Council Open Debate on Multilateralism on May 7, 2021. Credit: Freddie Everett/U.S. State Department.

Despite never-ending media reports of boiling tensions between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government over the Israel-Hamas war, Washington has signaled its intent to veto another United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire.

Guyana, serving as the council’s president for February, has confirmed a vote is on the docket for Tuesday morning.

But the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said in a statement on Saturday night that, “Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted,” indicating Washington will use its veto power as one of the 15-country council’s five permanent members.

The latest resolution was drafted by Algeria, a virulently anti-Israel country that serves as the council’s de facto representative for the Arab and Muslim world. Algerian diplomats have said action is needed to thwart an Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, according to the Israel Defense Forces Hamas’s last stronghold in the Strip.

Algeria’s latest draft demands an immediate ceasefire, which all parties must respect, and immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It further calls upon all parties to “comply with their obligation under international law in relation to all persons they detain.”

The draft resolution also insists upon a rapid, safe scale-up of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the formation of a Palestinian state, among other provisions.

While council members France, Japan, Korea and Switzerland have reiterated their belief that the resolution needs to condemn the Hamas massacre, which has been a consistent demand of the United States, the draft includes no such condemnation. 

Algerian diplomats said last week that a cycle of rejections of the terms of a humanitarian ceasefire by the warring parties puts to bed Washington’s diplomacy-first efforts, necessitating, the anti-Israel country said, action from the council.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s U.N. envoy, claimed the resolution could “run counter” to the goals the White House says can still be reached through diplomacy in ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas through intermediaries, including Qatar, Egypt and France.

Those talks appeared to hit a major bump last week, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled Hamas’s demands as “delusional.” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Saturday that, “The pattern in the last few days is not really very promising but…we will always remain optimistic and will always remain pushing.” 

The United States has used or threatened to utilize its veto power several times since Israel’s ground operation in Gaza began on Oct. 27. Most recently, Washington vetoed a ceasefire resolution presented by the United Arab Emirates in early December.

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