US blocks Algeria condemnation of Gaza aid massacre at UN Security Council

US blocks Algeria condemnation of Gaza aid massacre at UN Security Council
The US claimed that it did not 'have all the facts on the ground' concerning the massacre on Thursday on Palestinians queueing for aid by the Israeli military.
3 min read
The US was the only country out of 15 to not back Algeria's statement on the massacre in Al-Rashid Street [Getty/file photo]

The United States has blocked Algeria's request to the UN Security Council demanding the body to issue a statement blaming the Israeli army for the massacre carried out in northern Gaza on Thursday, killing over 100 Palestinians.

The US was the only country out of 15 to not back Algeria's statement on the massacre in Al-Rashid Street.

The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, on Thursday, pleaded for the Security Council to condemn the episode in Gaza that saw Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians scrambling for food aid in the war-torn enclave.

"The Security Council should say enough is enough," Riyad Mansour told reporters ahead of a closed-door meeting by the body, which came at the request of Algiers, a staunch supporter of Palestine.

The meeting was held to discuss the morning's events in Gaza, where Israeli forces opened fire on the Palestinians in a horrifying incident that killed at least 112 Palestinians who were queueing for aid.

The United States did not support the statement, and US deputy ambassador Robert Wood said that Washington "does not have all the facts on the ground and that’s the problem", adding that he wanted the wording to reflect "the necessary due diligence with regards to culpability."

"The parties are working on some language to see if we can get to a statement," Wood said.

The Israeli military claimed a "stampede" occurred when thousands of desperate Gazans surrounded a convoy of 38 aid trucks, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries, including some who were run over by the lorries. 

Tel Aviv, who has waged an almost five-month long war in Gaza, acknowledged that troops opened fire, claiming that the crowd "posed a threat".

This account has been rejected by witnesses and rights groups.

"This outrageous massacre is a testimony to the fact that as long as the Security Council is paralysed and vetoes (are) casted, then it is costing the Palestinian people their lives," Mansour said.

As one of five permanent members of the 15-member council, the United States - Israel's biggest ally - has a veto that it has wielded three times so far to bar the body from calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Palestinian territory.

At Thursday's meeting, Algeria put forth a draft declaration expressing "deep concern", which stated that the situation was "due to opening fire by Israel forces."

Of the Council's 15 members, "14 members supported the text", Mansour said after the meeting.

Mansour said he met earlier in the day with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

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"I implored her that the Security Council has to produce a product of condemning this killing and to go after those responsible for this massacre," he said.

If the Security Council has "a spine and determination to put an end to these massacres from happening all over again, what we need is a ceasefire," Mansour said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the situation "would require an effective independent investigation," into how the deaths occurred and who was responsible, after condemning the episode earlier in the day through his spokesman.

Thursday's incident added to a Palestinian death toll which the health ministry said had topped 30,000, mainly women and children.

Israel has carried out a brutal military onslaught of Gaza since October 7, targeting hospitals, schools and places of refuge. 30,228 Palestinians have been killed as of Friday.