Russia, China Veto US Push for Gaza Ceasefire

Measure fails in the Security Council
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2024 8:11 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2024 8:43 AM CDT
In Marked Shift, US Proposes 'Immediate' Gaza Ceasefire
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, third left, listens, during a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, March 21, 2024.   (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)
UPDATE Mar 22, 2024 8:43 AM CDT

The US changed its mind about a Gaza ceasefire on Friday, but to no avail. The UN Security Council voted on a resolution to demand an immediate halt to fighting, but Russia and China vetoed the measure, reports the New York Times. The US had vetoed three previous calls for a ceasefire. Eleven nations voted in favor of the resolution, while Algeria (which does not have veto power) also voted against it.

Mar 22, 2024 8:11 AM CDT

Weeks after vetoing a third United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, the US has proposed an "immediate and sustained ceasefire" at the UN, in a marked shift for Israel's closest ally. Here's what to know:

  • What's in it? The resolution describes "the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides, allow for the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance, and alleviate humanitarian suffering" amid "deep concern about the threat of conflict-induced famine and epidemics," per the New York Times.

  • Why the change? The Washington Post cites growing outrage over the "worsening humanitarian catastrophe" in Rafah, where 1.3 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering. The resolution notes a planned Israeli ground offensive in the southern city would cause further harm and displacement and "increase the risk of violations of the parties' obligations under international humanitarian law."
  • No stated time limit: The proposed ceasefire is not directly tied to the release of hostages and no time limit is offered, which is key. It's "a provision that has contributed to US vetoes of three previous resolutions," the Post reports, adding "Israel has said that any immediate, permanent ceasefire would be tantamount to allowing Hamas to win the war."
  • Hits at Hamas: Unlike other US-vetoed resolutions, this one condemns the Hamas attacks that triggered the fighting, as well as the "taking and killing of hostages" and the use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes, per the Post. It also expresses support for the release of all remaining Israeli hostages.

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  • Negotiations continue: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that Hamas and Israel are "getting closer" to reaching a ceasefire agreement "but there are still gaps." Countries who sign on to the US-proposed resolution will "send a strong message," he added.
  • The vote: US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she's optimistic the resolution will pass during a Friday morning vote. Russia's deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky said a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire is what "everybody" wants, per the AP.
  • Looking ahead: Beyond the proposed ceasefire, the US calls for a two-state solution and condemns attempts to "reduce" Palestinian territory, per the Times. In a meeting with the Saudi crown prince on Thursday, Blinken noted the administration's eventual goal is "the establishment of a future Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel."
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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