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Displaced Palestinians hold plastic containers to fill them with drinking water Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa/Alamy Live News

US vetoes UN resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The move comes after the United States tabled its own motion calling for a “temporary” ceasefire in Gaza.


THE US HAS vetoed a UN security council motion tabled by Algeria calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza. 

Washington vetoed the proposal at the United Nations, drafted by Algeria, which demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and “unconditional” release of all hostages kidnapped in the 7 October attacks.

Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called the vote “wishful and irresponsible”.

Hamas said the US veto equalled “a green light for the occupation to commit more massacres”.

The veto provoked criticism from countries including China and Russia – which have rejected the resolute US backing for Israel – but also from US allies including France, Malta and Slovenia.

With US President Joe Biden facing increasing pressure to dial down support for Israel, Washington also put forward an alternative draft resolution on Gaza, giving support for “a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable”.

When asked by The Journal today, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said it is Ireland’s longstanding position that there should be no vetos on the Security Council.

the-security-council-meets-before-voting-on-a-resolution-concerning-a-ceasefire-in-gaza-at-united-nations-headquarters-tuesday-feb-20-2024-ap-photoseth-wenig The Security Council meeting before voting on the resolution concerning a ceasefire in Gaza Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Aid halted in the north

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ World Food Programme has announced a pause in food and aid deliveries to northern Gaza after its drivers faced gunfire and violence from desperate residents swarming the trucks.

The convoys “faced complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order”, according to a statement from the WFP.

The WFP had attempted to resume aid deliveries in northern Gaza after a three-week pause following a strike on an aid convoy from the Israeli military.

The WFP said one in six children under the age of two are acutely malnourished and people are dying of hunger-related cases, and the situation is even more dire in northern Gaza.

“In these past two days our teams witnessed unprecedented levels of desperation,” the WFP said.

Hamas’s government media office described the WFP decision as a “death sentence” for hundreds of thousands of people who are in the northern half of Gaza.

The office called for the WFP to withdraw its decisions and for all UN agencies to return and avert “catastrophic consequences of the famine” there.

Calls for pause

After months of struggling for a united response, all EU members except Hungary called yesterday for an “immediate humanitarian pause”.

They also urged Israel not to invade Rafah, where some 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering, many in makeshift tents.

Unicef yesterday said that Rafah now shelters half of Gaza’s population, “many of whom have been displaced multiple times by war”. 

Israel has threatened in recent days to invade Gaza’s Rafah by the start of Ramadan, which happens around 10 March, if Hamas does not return the remaining hostages by then.

The city – the last untouched by Israeli ground troops – is the main entry point for desperately needed relief supplies via neighbouring Egypt.

Israel says the offensive is essential to destroy Hamas.

rafah-palestinian-territories-20th-feb-2024-palestinians-inspect-a-vehicle-destroyed-by-an-israeli-military-drone-where-two-persons-were-killed-and-others-injured-according-to-the-gaza-ministry Palestinians inspect a vehicle destroyed by an Israeli military drone Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The conflict started when Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on 7 October that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.

Hamas militants also took about 250 hostages – 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 29,195 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by the territory’s health ministry.

Today, the World Health Organization said it had transferred 32 patients out of Khan Yunis’ Nasser hospital, which Israeli troops raided last week after days of fighting around the medical facility.

Seven patients have died in the besieged hospital since Friday due to a lack of oxygen amid power cuts, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli army denied any patients died since the army began its operation.

The WHO said it feared for patients and staff still inside and warned the damage to the hospital – the chief facility in southern Gaza – was a “massive blow”. 

The charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff fled the hospital when it was attacked, and it had still not heard from two staff members.

Includes reporting by Hayley Halpin, Eimer McAuley, Jane Matthews, Press Association and © AFP 2024