The U.S. also bears responsibility for the “genocide” perpetrated in Gaza by Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted by the Palestinian WAFA media outlet as saying on Saturday.
The remarks were made in response to Washington vetoing a UN Security Council resolution on Friday calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” and the “immediate and unconditional release of hostages” abducted by Hamas.
Thirteen member states voted in favor of the proposal put forward by the United Arab Emirates, with the UK abstaining. U.S. representatives explained their decision by insisting that the resolution was “divorced from reality” and would “only plant the seeds for the next war.”
The WAFA quoted Abbas as saying that “this American policy makes the U.S. an accomplice to the genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by the Israeli occupational forces against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.” The official denounced Washington’s stance as “immoral” and running contrary to “all humanitarian norms and principles.”
“We place the responsibility for the bloodshed of Palestinian children, women and elderly at the hands of the occupational forces in the U.S.,” the Palestinian leader’s statement went on to say.
He concluded by warning Washington that its veto at the Security Council “will become a disgrace that will haunt the U.S. for many years.”
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood argued on Friday that a general ceasefire now would only serve to help Hamas retain its grip on power in Gaza.
The diplomat also criticized the draft resolution for its failure to clearly condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 after which Israel unleashed a massive military operation in the enclave. The hostilities in the densely-populated territory have already claimed more than 17,000 Palestinian lives, with 1.9 million people fleeing their homes.
“Women, children, the elderly – people from a range of nationalities – burned alive, gunned down, subject to obscene sexual violence,” Wood said. “We are very disappointed that for the victims of these heinous acts, the resolution’s authors offered not their condolences, nor condemnation of their murderers. It is unfathomable.”
The White House has publicly opposed a general ceasefire in Gaza, claiming the move would only serve Hamas, but supported a shorter “pause” to the fighting late last month, which enabled the release of 110 Hamas hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians who had been incarcerated in Israeli jails. It also bought time for aid workers to bring more humanitarian supplies into the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Commenting on the U.S. veto, China’s envoy to the UN, Zhang Jun accused the U.S. of hypocrisy for “condoning the continuation of fighting while claiming to care about the lives and safety of the people in Gaza.” He also noted that Washington’s line of reasoning was “feeble.”
Since the conflict broke out in early October, the U.S. has blocked multiple UN resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Gaza Aid Operation Not Sustainable, Says UN
The UN has said its humanitarian efforts in Gaza are on the brink of collapse, stating that aid deliveries have become “erratic” and “undependable.” The warning comes as Israeli forces step up strikes on southern Gaza, where thousands of civilians previously fled for safety.
Addressing reporters in a press briefing in Geneva, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths outlined the dire situation in Gaza, saying that plans to protect non-combatants are “in tatters” as Israel’s military moves south.
“We do not have a humanitarian operation in southern Gaza that can be called by that name anymore,” he said on Thursday, adding that Israeli attacks have “made no place safe for civilians in southern Gaza, which had been a cornerstone of the humanitarian plan to protect civilians and thus to provide aid to them. But without places of safety, that plan is in tatters.”
The official went on to say that the UN operation had deteriorated to a “program of opportunism,” lamenting the extreme scarcity of supplies and the inability to deliver aid to large swaths of Gaza. “It is erratic, it is undependable, and frankly, it is not sustainable,” Griffiths continued.
Though Israeli officials previously urged Palestinians to evacuate to southern cities in Gaza, recent strikes on the area have triggered “another wave of displacement,” according to Thomas White, the Gaza head of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees. Around 85% of the enclave’s population has been displaced amid the conflict, or roughly 1.9 million people.
To stress the urgency of the crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later invoked Article 99, a rarely used provision in the UN charter, to warn the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. He said that with the war raging on for more than two months, the humanitarian support network in Gaza faces “severe risk of collapse.”
While the Security Council advanced a resolution demanding a ceasefire on Friday, the US cast a lone ‘no’ vote to block it, despite support by 13 other nations.
More than 17,000 Palestinians, including over 7,100 children, have been killed in Israel’s assault since the war began in October, according to local officials. The latest round of violence kicked off following a deadly Hamas attack on Israel which left around 1,200 people dead, most of them civilians, and saw the militant group take over 200 hostages back to Gaza.
U.S. Blocks UN Gaza Ceasefire Appeal
An earlier media report said:
The U.S. has cast the lone dissenting vote against a proposed UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, amid rising civilian casualties in Gaza.
Thirteen member states voted in favor of the resolution, which was put forward by the United Arab Emirates on Friday in New York. The UK abstained, leaving Washington diplomatically isolated in blocking the measure.
“What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?” Deputy UAE UN Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab asked members of the council. “Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?”
Friday’s vote came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99, a rarely used provision in the UN charter, to warn the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. He said that with the war raging on for two months and counting, the humanitarian support net in Gaza faces a “severe risk of collapse.”
U.S. Drawing Up Plans For Postwar Gaza, Says Politico
U.S. officials have been discussing how to hand control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) once the Israel-Hamas war is over, Politico reported on Monday. The preliminary plan is for a revamped PA to step in once an international force has stabilized the region, an anonymous source told the outlet.
The PA is currently in power in the West Bank, and previously controlled Gaza before being ousted by Hamas in legislative elections in 2006. Political tensions between the two groups turned violent the following year, and reconciliation efforts have failed to bring Gaza and the West Bank under single Palestinian political rule.
Washington reportedly considers the PA unfit in its current form to govern Gaza due to corruption and inefficiency. “Ultimately, we want to have a Palestinian security structure in post-conflict Gaza,” a senior official in the administration of President Joe Biden told Politico.
The prime minister of the PA, Mohammad Shtayyeh, has warned that the Palestinian people would not accept the return of his party to Gaza without a definitive peace agreement. In an interview with The Guardian in October, he claimed that attempting to take over the enclave would amount to “the Palestinian Authority going in aboard an F-16 or an Israeli tank.”
Any strategy presented by the U.S. would likewise face numerous obstacles, including Israeli skepticism, Politico reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to resist the establishment of a Palestinian state, claiming it would be a threat to his country’s security. “In the Middle East, any territory that you vacate will be used for an armed Islamist state against us,” the Israeli leader declared in an interview last month.
Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu even suggested in a radio interview in November that dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza was “a possibility,” before being suspended for his comments.
Elsewhere, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also said last month that he would welcome Arabs leaving the enclave, asserting that “the State of Israel will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza.”
Russia Explains Relationship With Hamas
Russia’s contact with Hamas is limited to the Palestinian militant group’s Qatar-based political branch, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the audience at an online forum in Doha on Sunday.
“Hamas carried out a terrorist attack on October 7, which we immediately condemned. Hamas has a political branch operating in Doha, and we have relations with that political branch, and we immediately contacted the people in Doha to discuss the fate of the people taken hostage,” Lavrov explained.
By the time Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary truce and hostage exchange last month, Russia had evacuated over 750 of its citizens, including 300 children, from the war zone, flying most back to Moscow.
The pause in hostilities, the product of weeks of negotiations brokered by Qatar, saw Hamas release 110 of the captives kidnapped during the October 7 attack that left 1,200 Israelis dead. Israel released 240 Palestinian women and children from its prisons in return.
Outside the main hostage agreement between West Jerusalem and Gaza, Russia secured the release of several of its own citizens from Hamas captivity, hosting at least one Palestinian delegation in Moscow in the course of the negotiations.
Israel has been widely condemned for what critics say is its indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, which has displaced over 1.9 million of the enclave’s 2.3 million inhabitants in just over two months and left upwards of 17,487 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Mass Assassination Factory
The exponential increase in bombing targets compared to previous Gaza campaigns is the product of an AI system called Habsora (“The Gospel”), Israeli media revealed earlier this month, citing interviews with numerous current and former Israel Defense Forces soldiers, including an ex-intelligence officer who referred to the technology as a “mass assassination factory” and several who admitted the goal was quantity of strikes, not quality of targets.
Despite claiming to have had no knowledge of Hamas’ invasion plans before Oct. 7, it has emerged that Israel’s government had in its possession a detailed 40-page copy of the Palestinian militants’ battle plan for at least a year before the attack, The Times has claimed. Multiple IDF soldiers had actually witnessed the militants training for the “surprise” incursion in the weeks leading up to the strike, and Israeli intelligence was tracking the group’s purchase of the weapons it would ultimately use to breach the heavily-shriveled barrier dividing Gaza from Israel. The IDF has defended its failure to act on the intelligence, claiming it did not believe Hamas was capable of following through on the plan.