US tells UN it does not support call for Gaza ceasefire

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters): Ahead of a delayed Friday vote by the United Nations Security Council on a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, the United States – a veto power – told the 15-member body it does not support calls for such a move.

“This would only plant the seeds for the next war – because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace,” Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood told the council, which met to be briefed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

A Security Council vote on a resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates was delayed several hours until 5:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) – just after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets in Washington with ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey.

“Today this council will vote, it will have an opportunity to respond to the deafening calls across the world to bring this violence to an end,” Deputy UAE Ambassador to the U.N. Mohamed Abushahab told the council.

In Washington, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters that if the Security Council fails to adopt the resolution, “it is giving Israel a license to continue with its massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Along with demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the draft resolution also says Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected and demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as humanitarian access.

‘Spare no effort’

The United States has repeatedly pushed the council to condemn an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, during which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 240 people were taken hostage. Wood said the council inaction was a “serious moral failure.”

Israel has focused its retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, bombarding it from the air, imposing a siege and launching a ground offensive.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says that so far, more than 17,480 people have been killed. The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes.

To pass, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the council’s permanent members: the U.S., Russia, China, France or Britain. After several failed attempts to take action, the council last month called for pauses in fighting to allow aid access to Gaza.

“I urge the council to spare no effort to push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, for the protection of civilians, and for the urgent delivery of lifesaving aid,” Guterres said on Friday.

Guterres – who has long called for a humanitarian ceasefire – made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the body of a global threat from the war.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council on Friday that there was a ceasefire that had been broken by Hamas on Oct. 7.

“The irony is that regional stability and the security of both Israelis and Gazans can only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated, not one minute before,” Erdan said. “So the true path to ensure peace is only through supporting Israel’s mission – absolutely not to call for a ceasefire.”