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US vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

NEW YORK(Palestine Foundation Information Center)The UN Security Council failed to adopt another resolution calling for a ceasefire in the war-torn Gaza Strip after the US used its veto power against it and ignored secretary-general Antonio Guterres’ warning of a global threat from Israel’s brutal war on the Gaza civilians who are facing a “spiraling humanitarian nightmare.”

13 Security Council members voted in favor of a brief draft resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates on Friday, while the United Kingdom abstained. The resolution called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for humanitarian reasons and warned of the worsening catastrophic situation in Gaza.

The resolution also called for the protection of civilians, the immediate and unconditional release of all captives, and allowing humanitarian access to Gaza.

The Israeli occupation army has been bombarding Gaza from the air, sea and ground and imposing a tight siege on the population for many weeks. Vast areas of the territory have been reduced to a wasteland. The UN says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, facing shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, along with the threat of disease and famine.

Addressing the Council on Friday before the resolution was tabled for a vote, Guterres confirmed that “some 85 percent of the population have been forced from their homes.”

“The people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival,” the secretary-general said, addressing the Security Council on Friday.

He said that although the UN is committed to continuing to provide assistance for the Gaza population, “there is a high risk of the total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would have devastating consequences.”

“Gaza’s health system is collapsing while needs are escalating,” he warned further.

He also pointed to Gazans’ need for food and warned of a “serious risk of starvation and famine.”

“We anticipate that it would result in a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt. I fear the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region.”

During the session, Qatar’s representative to the UN, Sheikha Alia Al Thani, called on the Security Council to adopt the draft resolution submitted by the Arab Group.

The Qatari representative stressed that the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council reject any Israeli justifications for its aggression against Gaza and its measures to displace its residents, and urged the international community to increase urgent humanitarian support to the residents of the Gaza Strip.

The vote came after Guterres on Thursday took the rare step of invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter – urging the Security Council to work to “avert a humanitarian catastrophe” with “potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians” in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Article 99 allows the secretary general to bring any issue that “may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” to the attention of the council. This is the first time in Guterres’ nearly seven-year tenure that he has used this power.

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