The United States has vetoed a Kuwaiti proposal to the United Nation Security Council (UNSC), which sought to offer “international protection” to Palestinian civilians in the wake of more than 120 of deaths in the Gaza strip.
In a speech to the council, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticized the proposal, describing it as a “grossly one-sided view”. Haley accused Hamas of inciting violent acts at the border between Gaza and Israel, purposefully infiltrating the ‘Great March of Return’ mass protests with its “terrorist fighters” and deliberately using civilians as human shields.
“The terrorist group Hamas bears primary responsibility for the awful living conditions in Gaza,” she said, before the UNSC vote.
The US was the only council member to vote against the proposal. There were 10 votes in favor and four abstentions (Poland, the UK, Netherlands and Ethiopia). A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the US, Russia, China, France or the UK in order to be adopted.
“The message given by the council today, as it votes against this, is that the occupying power enjoys an exception,” the Kuwaiti representative said, after the proposal was vetoed.
“Why do Palestinians continue to suffer? Why does the international community fail to act? Why does Israel enjoy impunity? Why are all these lives lost and all this blood is shed?” he asked.
The vote came after a week which saw dozens of mortar shells fired into Israel from Palestine and air strikes carried out on Palestine by the Israeli military. Recent months have seen a major escalation of violence in Gaza, with more than 120 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the end of March, when the Great March of Return demonstrations began.
Despite numerous deliberations, the council has yet to respond to the violence, even as UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned this week that Gaza was “close to the brink of war.”
It was the second time that Haley has blocked a UN measure on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She previously vetoed a draft resolution that rejected President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, after all 14 other council members supported it.
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