Hamas-Israel: US vetoes UN Security Council resolution to demand a ceasefire in Gaza

Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since 1971
A Palestinian man sits in an armchair outside a destroyed building in Gaza City on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar)A Palestinian man sits in an armchair outside a destroyed building in Gaza City on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar)
A Palestinian man sits in an armchair outside a destroyed building in Gaza City on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar)

The US has vetoed a United Nations resolution to demand a ceasefire in Gaza after an emergency meeting of the United Nations's Security Council was called, and its secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since 1971.

Mr Guterres warned the council Gaza was at "breaking point" and desperate people are at serious risk of starvation, and that the UN believes it will result in "a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt".

However, the resolution has been rejected after the US vetoed the motion and made it clear it was against a ceasefire in the region, warning it would leave Hamas in charge of the territory still holding more than 100 hostages.

Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said the US does not believe it would lead to "durable peace, in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security" because Hamas would remain in charge.

He said: "It's not an issue about isolation. It's an issue about what we think is best to try to end this conflict as soon as possible and also to help facilitate more humanitarian assistance going into Gaza," Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood told reporters ahead of the vote.

"We can't just snap our fingers and the conflict stops. This is a very, very difficult situation," he said.

He said a ceasefire would "plant the seeds for the next war...because Hamas has no desire to see durable peace, to see a two-state solution".

The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas revolt on Israel.

After several failed attempts to take action, the Security Council last month called for pauses in fighting to allow aid access to Gaza, which Guterres on Friday described as a "spiralling humanitarian nightmare."

Guterres told the council earlier on Friday: "There is no effective protection of civilians. The people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival. But nowhere in Gaza is safe."

Along with demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the draft text said Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages but Israel's U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council earlier on Friday that there was a ceasefire that had been broken by Hamas' revolt on 7 October.

He said: "The irony is that regional stability and the security of both Israelis and Gazans can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated, not one minute before," Erdan said. "So the true path to ensure peace is only through supporting Israel's mission - absolutely not to call for a ceasefire."

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