America Vows Push for Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire at UN Security Council Despite Vetoing Proposed Resolution on Gaza

The American draft would ‘for the first time’ condemn Hamas. Yet, for Israel that may not suffice, as many provisions in the proposal would contradict the declared war goals of eradicating the Gaza-based terrorist organization.

AP/Seth Wenig
The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, February 20, 2024. AP/Seth Wenig

Even as America vetoes a one-sided United Nations Security Council proposed resolution on Gaza, it is calling for another measure that could undermine Israel’s declared war goals. America’s ambassador to Turtle Bay is also promising further negotiations with council members on her proposal. 

The ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, was the lone negative vote as the council’s 15 members deliberated a resolution proposed by Algeria that demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Britain abstained, while the rest of the council members supported the Algerian text, which was offered on behalf of the UN Arab members. 

The vetoed text called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, which would emsue regardless of the fate of the 134 hostages held by Hamas since October 7 — even though a previous council resolution called for their “immediate and unconditional” release.

“Any action this council takes right now should help, not hinder … sensitive negotiations,” Ms. Thomas Greenfield said in vetoing the Algerian proposal. As UN members increasingly criticize America for using its veto power three times since the start of the Gaza war, the ambassador noted that the U.S. is proposing its own resolution, adding that she would consult with council members on any text changes “in coming days.” 

Unlike the Algerian text, she said, the American draft would “for the first time” condemn Hamas. Yet, for Israel that may not suffice, as many provisions in the proposal would contradict the declared war goals of eradicating the Gaza-based terrorist organization. At the same time, it is far from clear that with its own proposal Washington could pacify anti-Israel UN members.  

The American text “is not an alternative to the Algerian proposal, and it cannot be an alternative,” the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasili Nebenzya, told the council. His speech mostly consisted of attacking the American ambassador.

While some other council members avoided similar attacks on America, they expressed disappointment at the veto. The Algerian UN ambassador, Amar Bendjama, vowed to “knock on the doors of the Security Council again and again to put an end to the bloodshed in Palestine.”

The council is obsessed with “the absurd notion of a ceasefire,” Israel’s ambassador, Gilad Erdan, countered. “What exactly will this silver bullet of a cease-fire achieve?” His answer: “The survival of Hamas.”

Yet, for the first time since the start of the war, America is using the word cease-fire in its proposal for a council resolution. The council expresses “support for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released,” the American resolution proposal says. Such a cease-fire while restrictions on humanitarian aid to Gaza are lifted would “help to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

The American text also calls on Israel to refrain from invading Rafah, where four Hamas battalions remain, including its top commanders, as do many hostages. “Such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances,” the text determines.

In another paragraph, the American proposal would ban the establishment of a narrow security barrier inside Gaza to protect Israeli border towns from an invasion like the one Hamas committed on October 7. 

Why are the UN and the Security Council “fixated on ensuring that these monsters remain in power?” Mr. Erdan asked during his speech. He noted that UN officials were found to have taken part in the October attack and that a major command tunnel was uncovered under the headquarters of the largest UN agency in Gaza. 

Israel, Mr. Erdan said, is ready for a cease-fire — but only once all the hostages are returned and Hamas asurrenders. As the Palestinian UN observer, Riad Mansour, called on the council to finally force Israel’s hand, Mr. Erdan said that the only way for the UN body to fulfill its mandate is to “side with Israel.” 

Yet, even with America’s veto on a one-sided Algerian resolution, the administration seems ready to weaken support for Israel at the UN. And Ms. Thomas-Greenfield promises to further appease the council’s cease-fire-now majority, further distancing America from Israel’s vow to dismantle Hamas’s hold on Gaza.

The New York Sun

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