Another Indefensible US Veto at the United Nations

Voting against a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire is a vote for famine and mass death

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The U.S. used its veto at the UN Security Council for the third time in this war to block a call for an immediate ceasefire:

The U.S. vetoed an Algerian proposal at the United Nations Security Council that called for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, saying that a cessation of hostilities without securing the release of hostages in Hamas’s captivity would only prolong the conflict.

The U.S. circulated a draft resolution ahead of the vote calling, instead, for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza “as soon as practicable” and in tandem with the release of all hostages taken on Oct. 7, as the Biden administration increasingly clashes with the Israeli government over the conduct of the war.

The Biden administration’s hostility to a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza is indefensible. They once again bring lasting disgrace on themselves and on the United States with this latest veto. The need for a humanitarian ceasefire is obvious and overwhelming. Every humanitarian relief agency has been pleading for one for months for this reason. Voting against a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire is a vote for famine and mass death.

Hundreds of thousands of people are already living in famine conditions. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, more than 70,000 have been injured, the health care system has all but collapsed, and relief efforts are severely restricted. Under these circumstances, anything less than an immediate and extended ceasefire is completely inadequate to address the needs of the civilian population. An immediate ceasefire is also the best chance that the remaining hostages have to survive and to be released. Putting off a ceasefire until it is “practicable” (decided by whom?) likely means that it will be put off indefinitely. The administration’s preferred solution has so many caveats and conditions attached that their temporary ceasefire would probably never happen.

The U.S. is still providing cover to the Israeli government after it has spent more than four months inflicting collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza with devastating effect. While the administration may claim to oppose an Israeli ground assault in Rafah, it refuses to do any of the things that would put meaningful pressure on Netanyahu and his allies to get them to stop. When presented with an opportunity to endorse a humanitarian ceasefire, the U.S. could have at least abstained to signal its dissatisfaction with Netanyahu if there was anything to signal, but instead our ambassador vetoed it. The U.S. won’t lift a finger to prevent catastrophe in Gaza, and instead it actively opposes the states that are trying to act. There is nothing surprising about this, but it needs to be stated clearly all the same.

A temporary ceasefire would be better than nothing, but it would not be enough to prevent mass starvation. Conditions have already been allowed to deteriorate so much that many people that have been weakened by hunger and disease will still perish even if the fighting stopped tomorrow. Further delay in halting the campaign doom tens and eventually hundreds of thousands of people to death from starvation and disease. These are deaths that can be prevented, but they won’t be if the U.S. keeps protecting Netanyahu’s government and its atrocious war.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Another Indefensible US Veto at the United Nations”

  1. Feb 20, 2024 America Erupts Against Israel, Streets Block; Protesters Slam Biden For Aiding ‘Genocide’ In Gaza

    Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters blocked a major highway in San Francisco. Protesters called for a ceasefire in Gaza and urged President Biden to stop arming Israel amid its ground offensive.

    1. Meanwhile, I can almost hear MAGA types saying: “Pro Hamas, Muslim brotherhood supporters protesters block ambulances on major highway.” Actually, I did see a similar posting on such a FB page yesterday.

  2. My Hobby Horse: UN Resolution 181 was one giant act of collective punishment. Palestine had nothing to do with European forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Had the UN done its duty after WWII, not only would Palestine be free from Zionism+Naziism, but Eastern Europe would be free from Naziism+Zionism. Zionist corruption right from the start doomed the UN. Unless it reforms, the cognitive dissonance will overwhelm it one day soon

  3. “ Israeli forces fired on a United Nations convoy carrying vital food supplies in central Gaza on February 5, before ultimately blocking the trucks from progressing to the northern part of the territory, where Palestinians are on the verge of famine, according to documents shared exclusively by the UN and CNN’s own analysis.

    CNN has seen correspondence between the UN and the Israeli military that show the convoy’s route was agreed upon by both parties prior to the strike. According to an internal incident report compiled by UNRWA, the main UN relief agency in Gaza, which was also seen by CNN, the truck was one of 10 in a convoy sitting stationary at an IDF holding point when it was fired upon.

    No one in the convoy was hurt, but much of its contents – mainly wheat flour desperately needed to bake bread – were destroyed. ”

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