Competing U.N. Security Council proposals to respond to the escalation of violence in Gaza have both failed, starkly baring divisions that have paralyzed the U.N.’s most powerful body.
After months of urgent council discussions about the violence, the U.S. vetoed Friday an Arab-backed resolution that sought to explore ways to ensure “international protection” for Palestinian civilians, and there wasn’t enough support to pass a U.S. resolution to condemn Hamas.
Ten of the council’s 15 members voted for the Arab-backed resolution, drafted by Kuwait; four abstained. The U.S. was the sole yes vote for its resolution, though a majority didn’t take any position; 11 abstained.
So far, the council hasn’t been able to agree on so much as a press statement about what the U.N.’s Mideast envoy has called the most serious increase in violence in Gaza since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
“This heavy silence is disastrous — for the world that is watching us, for the credibility of the council, for multilateralism,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said after voting for the Kuwaiti measure.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the Kuwaiti proposal”grossly one-sided” for deploring the use of “any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces” while not mentioning Hamas.
“The resolution places all blame on Israel” and “is wildly inaccurate,” she said. Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon called the proposal unworthy of consideration.
“It is true the residents of Gaza need protection — they need protection from Hamas,” he said. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic group seized control of Gaza in 2007.
The U.S. proposal, meanwhile, refrained from criticizing Israel for defending itself, and cast blame on Hamas for violence, endangering civilians, and deteriorating conditions in Gaza.
It demanded that Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups stop “all violent activity and provocative actions” in Gaza and called for a report on the recent actions of “terrorist organizations such as Hamas” in the coastal strip.
“This resolution rightly places responsibility where it belongs,” Haley said. But some other council members, including Russia, said the U.S. measure wasn’t evenhanded.
A few countries abstained from voting on either proposal.
“Today’s resolutions contain elements that are either imbalanced or too vague to be viable,” said British Ambassador Karen Pierce