The United States was the lone veto of a United Nations resolution Friday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
According to U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood, the resolution was “divorced from reality” and “would have not moved the needle forward on the ground.”
Wood explained the United States’ vote:
We still cannot comprehend why the resolution’s authors declined to include language condemning Hamas’ horrific terrorist attack on Israel on October 7. An attack that killed over 1,200 people. Women, children, the elderly. People from a range of nationalities. Burned alive. Gunned down. Subject to obscene sexual violence.
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’s unfathomable. Nor is there condemnation of the sexual violence unleashed by Hamas on October 7.
Over the last 20 years, this Council has repeatedly underscored the need to take seriously all reports of conflict-related sexual violence.
Yet this Council and many of its members have been conspicuously silent in response to reports that Hamas committed acts of sexual- and gender-based violence on October 7. These incidents must be investigated and condemned, just as we do in any other conflict.
Equally disappointing is that the authors declined to add language reaffirming that the ICRC must be permitted to access and provide medical treatment to the hostages still held by Hamas terrorists and other extremists.
The resolution also fails to encourage a resumption of humanitarian pauses, to allow for the release of hostages and an increase of aid. This formula has worked. It could resume very quickly, if Hamas agreed to release women and civilian hostages.
This text also failed to acknowledge that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism, consistent with international law. This is a right to which all states are entitled.
Wood also argued a ceasefire would allow Hamas to continue its rule of Gaza and “plant the seeds for the next war.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the U.S. for its position and said other countries also “need to understand that it is impossible to support the elimination of Hamas on one hand, and on the other hand call for the halting of the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) December 9, 2023
"I greatly appreciate the correct stance that the US has taken in the UN Security Council. pic.twitter.com/IYMbc5BGH4
Thirteen members of the council voted in favor of the United Arab Emirates-drafted measure, while the United Kingdom abstained.