Dec 8, 2023 - World

US vetoes UN Security Council demand for ceasefire in Gaza

A general view shows the United Nations Security Council after the vote about a ceasefire in Gaza at UN headquarters in New York on December 8, 2023.

A general view shows the United Nations Security Council after the vote about a ceasefire in Gaza at UN headquarters in New York on December 8, 2023. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on Friday.

Why it matters: This is the second time the U.S. has been the only opposing vote on such a resolution — indicating its ongoing support for Israel, which is under international pressure as its military campaign continues.

  • In Friday's vote, 13 of the 15 Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, with the U.K. abstaining.
  • The draft resolution was co-sponsored by 97 UN member states.

Driving the news: The vote took place two days after UN Secretary-General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter to push for a ceasefire.

  • It was the first time Guterres invoked Article 99 — used to alert the Security Council of a severe international security threat — since he was appointed in 2017.
  • More than 17,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.

What they're saying: Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood called the resolution "imbalanced and detached from reality" and said it wouldn't have created positive change on the ground.

  • Wood said the member states who drafted the resolution rejected proposed amendments and refused to include a condemnation of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel or condolences for the victims, which he called "unfathomable."
  • Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN representative, said the U.S. veto "gives more time to the war criminal to commit more crimes" and accused the U.S. of "double standards."

What to watch: A senior Israeli defense official told Axios the high intensity phase of Israel's operations in Gaza would likely last another three or four weeks.

Go deeper: Israel now willing to discuss post-war Gaza, U.S. officials say

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

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