US vetoes Security Council resolution calling for Gaza ceasefire

US vetoes Security Council resolution calling for Gaza ceasefire
US vetoes UN Security Council resolution urging an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, hours after UN chief said “it is time to act”.
2 min read
08 December, 2023
As a permanent Security Council member, Washington can veto any resolution [Getty]

The United States on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have called for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza.

Washington wielding its veto dashes a growing clamour for an immediate ceasefire that had been led by UN Chief Antonio Guterres and Arab nations.

Guterres had convened an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after weeks of a relentless Israeli military campaign that killed more than 17,487 people in Gaza, including over 7,000 children.

"The United Arab Emirates is deeply disappointed," said the representative of the UAE who had sponsored the resolution calling for a ceasefire.

"Regrettably... this council is unable to demand a humanitarian ceasefire."

Live Story

Washington said the resolution was rushed and left the call for an unconditional ceasefire unchanged.

"This resolution still contains a call for an unconditional ceasefire... it would leave Hamas in place able to repeat what it did on October 7," said US deputy UN representative Robert Wood.

As a permanent Security Council member, Washington can veto any resolution, while Britain, also a member, abstained on the vote.

Ahead of the vote, Guterres had said that "the brutality perpetrated by Hamas can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people."

Live Story

'Complicit' in slaughter

Israel has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and sent in tanks and ground troops since the war began on 7 October.

Guterres deployed rarely-used Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring to the council's attention "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security".

No one in his job had done this in decades.

Guterres had sought a "humanitarian ceasefire" to prevent "a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians" and the entire Middle East.


After the US vetoed the resolution, Wood said it was "divorced from reality" and "would have not moved the needle forward on the ground".

Medecins Sans Frontiers said that the Security Council's inaction made the body "complicit in the ongoing slaughter".

Several previous attempts to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire were vetoed.

Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to a wasteland. The United Nations says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, facing shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, along with the threat of disease.

"International humanitarian law includes the duty to protect civilians," Guterres said.