The United States has vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution seeking protections for Palestinian civilians, while a U.S.-drafted text that blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the recent surge in violence also failed.
The United States was isolated in Friday’s vote on its draft, casting the only vote in favor. Bolivia, Kuwait and Russia voted against it, while the 11 other council members abstained.
Kuwait’s proposed resolution had enough support to be adopted, but was blocked by the U.S. veto.
“With its votes today, the U.N. Security Council majority showed that it was willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas, for violence in Gaza,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a written statement after the double vote. “Further proof was not needed, but it is now completely clear that the U.N. is hopelessly biased against Israel. The United States will not allow such bias, which is why we did not hesitate to cast our veto.”
This was the second time the Trump administration had used its veto to block a measure in the council it saw as anti-Israel. The first was in December, when the U.S. was isolated 14-1 in a vote calling for the withdrawal of the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Two weeks ago, Kuwait circulated a draft resolution condemning the recent surge in violence along the border fence separating the Gaza Strip and Israel that has killed more than 120 Palestinians since March. Its text deplored Israel for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestinian civilians. It also “deplored” the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, but it did not name Hamas and allied militants for conducting the launches.
The Kuwaiti draft also called for an “immediate, durable, and fully respected cease-fire” as well as asking U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report on an “international protection mechanism” for Gaza.
“We deplore that the council failed to adopt the draft resolution,” said Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi. He said the recent violence proved that the Palestinians were in dire need of protection. He later told reporters that the bloc of Arab countries would consider going to the General Assembly and other U.N. bodies to try to find a way to get it.
The United States was not happy with the Kuwaiti draft and put forward 31 amendments to it on Thursday, which would have substantially altered its substance.
On Friday, council members asked the U.S. to resubmit its amendments as a proper draft resolution. That was the text that had support from only the United States.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour expressed disappointment that the Kuwaiti draft was not adopted, but noted what many observers were saying about the U.S. draft — that this was the first time anyone could remember a council member putting forward a resolution that got only one vote in favor.
“If that is not the epic of complete failure, I want you to tell me what is failure in the Security Council,” Mansour said.
Israel's ambassador questioned why the Kuwaiti draft mentioned Israel by name five times but did not mention Hamas once.
“Don't you know how to spell it?” Danny Danon asked council members.
The U.N. has warned that the latest violence between Israelis and Palestinians is the most serious escalation since the 2014 conflict between Hamas and Israel.