Russia, China Veto US Bid On Gaza ‘Ceasefire’ At Security Council

Russia and China rejected a US-led Security Council draft resolution on a Gaza ceasefire on Friday, joining Arab countries in saying it did not put pressure on Israel, with Moscow accusing Washington of staging a “hypocritical spectacle.”

The United States, Israel’s key partner that has vetoed past ceasefire requests, proposed a resolution in which the Security Council would have endorsed “the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire” and for the first time criticized Hamas’ October 7 attack.

Veto-wielding Algeria, the current Arab member on the Security Council, joined Russia and China in opposing the resolution, and has co-sponsored a new, tougher resolution that is set to be voted on Saturday and faces a US veto.

Russia’s envoy, Vasily Nebenzia, claimed that the US statement would have done little to rein in Israel and derided Washington for mentioning a ceasefire after “Gaza has been virtually wiped off the face of the Earth.”

“We have observed a typical hypocritical spectacle,” he said.

Nebenzia said the US draft was intended to “play to voters and throw them a bone in the form of some kind of a mention of a ceasefire in Gaza.”

The resolution will “ensure the impunity of Israel, whose crimes are not even assessed in the draft.”

 ‘Cynically vetoed’ 

The draft had stopped short of explicitly demanding that Israel immediately end its campaign in Gaza. In the delicate language of Security Council resolutions, the draft “determines” the “imperative” of an “immediate and sustained” ceasefire.

It linked a ceasefire to ongoing talks, led by Qatar with support from the United States and Egypt, to halt fighting in return for Hamas releasing hostages.

China’s representative, Zhang Jun, said the draft “dodged the most central issue, that of a ceasefire” through its “ambiguous” language.

“Nor does it even provide an answer to the question of realizing a ceasefire in the short term,” he said.

On a visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia and China “cynically vetoed” a resolution that had “strong support.”

“I think we were trying to show the international community a sense of urgency about getting a ceasefire,” Blinken told reporters.

Speaking at the Security Council, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: “Let’s be honest — for all the fiery rhetoric, we all know that Russia and China are not doing anything diplomatically to advance a lasting peace or to meaningfully contribute to the humanitarian response effort.”

Push for alternative resolution

The harsher resolution, which will be voted on Saturday, is co-sponsored by Algeria and a varied group of countries that supported the US proposal – Malta, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, and Switzerland — as well as Guyana, which abstained on Friday.

However, Thomas-Greenfield expressed US opposition, claiming that the measure would undermine ongoing hostage-release negotiations.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s UN ambassador, claimed the vetoes of the US resolution meant that “terrorists can continue to benefit from this Council.”

“The Council’s decision to not condemn Hamas is a stain that will never be forgotten,” he told reporters.

Russia, China, and Algeria, in turn, urged a resolution to prevent Israel from launching an offensive in Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians have sought refuge.

The US has publicly opposed the operation, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Friday after meeting with Blinken that he will go into Rafah even if Washington does not support it.

According to Israeli officials, militants infiltrated Israel on October 7 and killed around 1,160 individuals, the majority of whom were civilians.

Militants also took approximately 250 hostages, of which Israel says 130 are still in Gaza, including 33 who are thought dead.

Israel then pledged to eliminate Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. According to the Gaza health ministry, 32,000 people have perished, the most of them are civilians, and the United Nations has warned that famine is approaching in the area.

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