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The U.S. has vetoed a Gaza cease-fire resolution in the U.N. Security Council

French Ambassador to the United Nations Nicolas de Rivière (center) and other representatives raise their hands in favor of a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza during a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Friday. The U.S. vetoed it.
Charly Triballeau
AFP via Getty Images
French Ambassador to the United Nations Nicolas de Rivière (center) and other representatives raise their hands in favor of a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza during a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Friday. The U.S. vetoed it.

The United States vetoed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

The Security Council vote on the resolution, backed by Arab states, had 13 in favor and one — the U.S. — against, while the United Kingdom abstained.

After the vote, the U.S. deputy representative to the U.N., Robert Wood, said the resolution was rushed and ignored U.S. diplomatic efforts to get more aid into Gaza and free hostages taken by Hamas militants in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"We propose language ... that would have reinforced the life-saving diplomacy we have undertaken since Oct. 7, increased opportunities for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, encourage the release of hostages and the resumption of humanitarian pauses and laid a foundation for a durable peace," Wood said.

"Unfortunately, nearly all of our recommendations were ignored."

Arab countries urge the U.S. to push for a truce

Several foreign ministers of Arab countries that have been pushing for a cease-fire met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington shortly after the U.S. veto.

While Blinken's aides say he wanted to talk about the future of Gaza, once Israel defeats Hamas, Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, rejected that approach.

"Today's failure to support the call for a humanitarian cease-fire is an endorsement of further killing of Palestinians, further violations of international law, further commitment of war crimes," Safadi said.

"Israel is basically doing whatever it wants, in defiance even of its allies, creating a horrific situation in Gaza, and then wants us to come in and clean the mess. We will not do that."

He was joined by the foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The draft didn't condemn Hamas

Wood said the resolution's authors declined to condemn Hamas' Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people, including women, children and elderly.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel's two-month military campaign has killed more than 17,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, most of them women and children, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which does not differentiate between civilian and combatant casualties in its figures.

Wood added that the draft also "failed to acknowledge that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism."

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan thanked the U.S. "for standing firmly by our side."

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, he said: "A ceasefire will be possible only with the return of all the hostages and the destruction of Hamas."

The U.S. has previously vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on similar grounds. Russia and China vetoed a U.S. resolution to condemn the Hamas attack, call for the release of hostages and allow aid into Gaza.

Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres invoked a rarely used article of the U.N. Charter to urge the Security Council to "press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe" and pass a resolution for a "humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Alex Leff is a digital editor on NPR's International Desk, helping oversee coverage from journalists around the world for its growing Internet audience. He was previously a senior editor at GlobalPost and PRI, where he wrote stories and edited the work of international correspondents.

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