US vetoes UN Security Council resolution for Gaza ceasefire following Secretary General’s invocation of Article 99 – JURIST

The United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on Friday, prompting a furious backlash from the international community.

The vote followed UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter, which forced a discussion on the humanitarian disaster currently unfolding in the region. Since early October 18,000 Gazans have been killed, mostly civilians, including 7,000 children, and 80% of civilians have been displaced.

In its statement, the US Mission to the UN said that “regretfully [they] could not support this resolution” because “nearly all of our recommendations were ignored” and that the resolution ultimately failed to condemn Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th killing more than 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. They said:

As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, any ceasefire is at best temporary, and is certainly not peace. And any ceasefire that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.

That is the only way to ensure lasting security for a Jewish and democratic Israel, the only way to ensure that the Palestinians achieve their legitimate aspirations for a state of their own.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu responded by thanking the US for its support, saying, “”I greatly appreciate the correct stance that the US has taken in the UN Security Council.”

Article 99 of the UN Charter states that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” This means that the Secretary-General has the authority to inform the Security Council about any issue that they believe could pose a threat to international peace and security. Guterres’s invocation of Article 99 was the first since 1989, when it was invoked in relation to the conflict in Lebanon.

Many in the international community expressed outrage at the US’s veto, with Amnesty International saying it displayed “callous disregard for civilian suffering in face of staggering death toll.” Scholars and lawyers across the world have condemned the action as “immoral” and “depraved” action that means  the “US has lost the moral high ground to criticise other States for failing to support resolutions in other war zones by standing alone in failing to support a much needed humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.”

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