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US signals it will not support humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza ahead of critical UN vote

December 8, 2023 at 6:11 pm

Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations (UN) in New York, United States, on November 6, 2023 [Selçuk Acar/Anadolu Agency]

The US signalled, Friday, that it does not support a humanitarian ceasefire to halt hostilities in the besieged Gaza Strip as the UN Security Council prepares to vote on a critical draft resolution, Anadolu Agency reports.

While the United States strongly supports the durable peace, in which both Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and security, we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire

Ambassador Robert Wood told the Council.

“This would only plant the seeds for the next war, because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-state solution,” he added.

A humanitarian ceasefire has been widely supported by the vast majority of UN member states in the General Assembly where the US does not wield veto power. The Assembly voted 26 October to endorse the ceasefire, with 120 nations in favour. Just 14 states voted against the non-binding resolution.

Over 17,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October when Israel launched its war in retaliation for a cross-border attack carried out by Hamas on Israel. Roughly 70 per cent of those killed in Gaza have been women and children while over 46,000 others have been injured.

READ: UN experts urge member states to do all for Gaza ceasefire ahead of Security Council vote

Official figures put the number of those killed in Israel during Hamas’s attack at over 1,200.

Addressing the Council ahead of Friday’s expected vote, Palestine’s UN envoy said that member states who “are against the destruction and displacement of the Palestinian people” must vote for an immediate ceasefire.

“When you refuse to call for a ceasefire you are refusing to call for the only thing that can put an end to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This is how Israel is conducting the war – through atrocities,” said Riyad Mansour.

The shame is not on those calling for a ceasefire in the face of such atrocities. It haunts those refusing to do so. Israel’s objective is clear. It is to force people out, and regardless of how many times some say it will not happen, everything confirms we were right from day one

he added.

Israel resumed its military offensive against Gaza on 1 December after the end of a week-long humanitarian pause with Hamas that facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the exchange of hostages held by Hamas, and Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Over 1.8 million Palestinians have been displaced in Gaza, and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, warned earlier that they are “being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival. But “nowhere in Gaza is safe.”

He was alluding to Israeli orders for Palestinians to evacuate areas they plan to bomb. Many who have done so were killed in areas they moved to that they were told would be safer.

Guterres warned that the humanitarian support network in Gaza is facing “total collapse”, and if it were to fail, there would be “devastating consequences” for the region.

READ: Dozens injured in Israel bombing of Deir Al-Balah hospital area