U.S. Vetoes Immediate Gaza Ceasefire at U.N., Calls for Temporary One Instead

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On Tuesday, the U.S. vetoed a resolution backed by Algeria that would call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza strip. This is the third time the U.S. has vetoed such a resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

“This draft resolution could put sensitive negotiations in jeopardy—derailing the exhaustive, ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages, and secure an extended pause that Palestinian civilians and aid workers so desperately need,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters.

Instead, the U.S. has drafted a resolution for the U.N. Security Council that calls for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and warns against Israel’s planned offensive in Rafah. The U.S. has called on other security council members to support it.

The draft resolution calls for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable” but the language falls short of the immediate ceasefire other Security Council members want, CNN reported.

Approximately 1.5 million Gazans are currently taking shelter in Rafah after Israel designated it a safe zone. Most of them were previously displaced from northern parts of Gaza and are now facing the possibility of being displaced again. 

With much of the homes and infrastructure in northern Gaza destroyed, the U.S. is concerned that the Rafah offensive will result in severe harm and loss of life to civilians. At least 29,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began launching airstrikes and its ground offensive in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people.

Read More: The Limits of American Power in Gaza

“Under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries,” the proposed U.S. resolution states.

The new U.S. draft resolution marks the first time Washington has called for a ceasefire at the U.N. since the war began.

The U.S. has repeatedly emphasized what it says is Israel’s right to defend itself following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack. It has voted against at least two U.N. Security Council resolutions on the war.

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