US threatens to veto French draft UN resolution on Israel-Palestine ceasefire
The United States said on Wednesday it would not support a United Nations Security Council draft resolution proposed by France calling for an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, saying it could undermine efforts to de-escalate the crisis.
"We've been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate," a US spokesperson at the UN told AFP.
The remarks indicated that Washington was ready to veto the French proposal if it came to a vote.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was in Paris for summits on Africa, agreed on the resolution in a video conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II, according to a statement late Tuesday.
The Security Council has failed to adopt a simple declaration on the conflict, with the United States, a staunch Israel ally, vetoing three prior statement drafts proposed by China, Norway and Tunisia which called for an end to the fighting.
Raising diplomatic pressure on the US, France had proposed a "short and simple" resolution calling for a halt to hostilities and access for humanitarian aid.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry at least 231 people, including 64 children, have been killed by Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, with hundreds more injured. At least 24 people have also been killed in the West Bank.
The current conflict began after Hamas began launching rockets at Israel following an assault by Israeli security forces on Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, which injured hundreds of people.
Twelve people in Israel have been killed by rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian factions.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday told Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects "significant de-escalation" during the day.
However, deafening air strikes once more shook Gaza on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people.
"The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire," the White House said after a fourth phone call in a little over a week.
The Security Council has been widely criticized for failing to yet adopt a declaration on Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza.
Geraldine Byrne Nason, UN ambassador for Ireland, a non-permanent member of the Council said "members have a collective responsibility for international peace and Security.
"It is high time the Council steps up, breaks its silence and speaks out," she added.