US Shoots Down UN Statement Condemning Violence in Gaza

The only country on the Security Council to do so
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2021 12:50 AM CDT
US Vetoes UN Statement Condemning Violence in Gaza
Journalists and others run to take cover during an Israeli airstrike on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City, on Monday, May 17, 2021.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The UN Security Council was considering a statement condemning the violence in Gaza, which has left hundreds of Palestinians dead including dozens of women and children, and calling for a ceasefire—but the US blocked it Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to Al Jazeera, that's the third time in a week US opposition to such a statement has prevented one from being released. The council held an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the crisis, and China, which holds the rotating presidency of the council for the month of May, drafted the statement late Sunday. After it was blocked by the US, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters, "We urge the US to shoulder its fair share of responsibilities, take a just stance, and work with the majority of the international community to support the Security Council."

The permanent members of the council—the US, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom—have veto powers over any joint statements, and the US was the only dissenting voice in this case. The Biden administration has given little indication it plans to step down support for Israel, but an increasing number of senators are calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and, per the Times of Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken became the first US official to call for a ceasefire late Sunday. The draft UN statement, obtained by the Times, "expressed [the council’s] grave concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties, and called for de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children." On Monday afternoon, Israel's defense minister thanked the US for blocking it, the Independent reports. (More Gaza stories.)

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