US blocks UN move to call for Israel-Gaza ceasefire, as UK abstains over lack of condemnation of Hamas

8 December 2023, 21:35

The US vetoed a ceasefire resolution in the UN, while the UK abstained
The US vetoed a ceasefire resolution in the UN, while the UK abstained. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

The US has vetoed a UN resolution to call for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, as the UK abstained.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Thirteen out of the fifteen members of the UN's Security Council backed an immediate ceasefire in a vote on Friday evening.

The US blocked the move, with its deputy ambassador to the UN saying that the wording of the resolution was "rushed" and would result in an "unsustainable ceasefire" that would "plant the seeds for the next war".

The UK did not vote on the resolution, with its representative saying that was because it did not criticise Hamas.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has long called for a ceasefire in the war, which has killed over 16,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory's Hamas-linked health ministry. It came after Hamas invaded Israel, killing 1,200 and taking 240 people hostage.

Read more: Two charged after Keir Starmer heckled by Gaza protesters who claim Labour leader backs 'genocide'

Read more: British team helping prepare Palestinian Authority to take over Gaza after Israel-Hamas war, Defence Secretary says

US deputy ambassador Robert Wood
US deputy ambassador Robert Wood. Picture: Getty

Israel has criticised the UN for the organisation's position on the war.

Neither the UK nor the US have called for a ceasefire, instead backing the idea of 'humanitarian pauses' to allow hostages to be released and aid to get into Gaza.

Both countries have maintained that Israel has a right to defend itself within international law. Some onlookers have claimed that Israel is not taking enough care to protect civilians.

Explaining why his country blocked the resolution, the US deputy ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said on Friday night that "no country could or should tolerate what Hamas did on 7 October".

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on Friday
Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on Friday. Picture: Alamy

"If any of our own countries had been attacked in this way, we would all expect this council to reaffirm our rights to protect our citizens," he says.

He said that an "unconditional ceasefire" is unrealistic and would "simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on 7 October".

"This resolution essentially says that Israel should just tolerate this, that it should allow this terror to go unchecked."

Mr Wood said this stance was "a recipe for disaster, for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for the entire region."

Strikes on Gaza’s southern edge sow fear in one of last areas people can flee to

Britain's Barbara Woodward said the UK could not "vote in favour of a resolution that does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed", while also calling for more humanitarian pauses.

Mr Guterres had earlier warned that Gaza was at "breaking point", with people at risk of starvation if the war does not end.

He foretold "a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Election 2024 Trump

Donald Trump easily beats Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year

An aircraft launching from USS Dwight D Eisenhower during flight operations in the Red Sea

US and UK strike Houthi sites in Yemen amid surge in Red Sea attacks on ships

Residents voting in the South Carolina Republican primary

Trump enters South Carolina primary looking to embarrass Haley in her home state

Britain and US strike more than a dozen targets in Yemen in response to ongoing attacks on shipping in Red Sea

Britain and US strike more than a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen following Red Sea shipping attacks

World leaders laid flowers in tribute to killed soldiers as they joined Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine

Western leaders rally around Kyiv as Ukraine marks invasion anniversary

Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit has launched a murder investigation in the affulent commuter town Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Murder investigation launched and man, 39, arrested after woman, 40, found fatally injured in Beaconsfield

Stan Bowles, QPR legend and former England 'maverick', dies age 75 following battle with Alzheimer's disease

Stan Bowles, QPR legend and former England 'maverick' footballer, dies age 75 following battle with Alzheimer's disease

Three female MPs have been issued with bodyguards and cars amid growing concern for politicians' safety

Three female MPs issued with 'taxpayer-funded bodyguards and cars' amid growing safety concerns

A picture of Alexei Navalny next to flowers in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin

Body of Russian opposition leader Navalny handed over to his mother, aide says

Destroyed residential buildings in Rafah

Israeli officials to meet over proposed pause in Gaza fighting

Wendy Williams thanks supporters for 'love and kind words' after she is diagnosed with same rare form of dementia as Bruce Willis

Wendy Williams thanks supporters for 'love and kind words' after she is diagnosed with same rare form of dementia as Bruce Willis

Competitors battle in a muddy pool at the Florida Man Games

Tank-topped teams compete in spoof sporting event in Florida

Children are seen in a building destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, February 22

'Progress' made in Gaza ceasefire talks after Hamas 'drop some of its demands' that could see Israeli hostages released

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Brazilian president accuses Israel of committing genocide in Gaza

Alexei Navalny's body handed to mother after 'three-hour ultimatum' over late Russian opposition figure's burial

Alexei Navalny's body handed to mother after 'three-hour ultimatum' over late Russian opposition figure's burial