UN Security Council rejects Russian-backed Israel-Hamas ceasefire resolution

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A Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution that called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in Gaza failed to pass on Monday, while a vote on a rival Brazilian text was delayed until Tuesday.

The draft resolution received five votes in favor and four votes against, along with six abstentions. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - to pass.

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“Today, the entire world waited with bated breath for the Security Council to take steps in order to put an end to the bloodletting, but the delegations of the Western countries have basically stomped on those expectations,” Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the council after the vote.

Russia proposed the one-page draft text on Friday, which also called for the release of hostages, humanitarian aid access, and the safe evacuation of civilians in need. The text condemned violence against civilians and all acts of terrorism, without naming any sides.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,837 people – half of whom are said to be children – and injured 10,000 others.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas in the Gaza Strip after its fighters stormed Israeli towns, killed 1,300 people and seized hostages.

Israel is also preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza while subjecting the enclave to the most intense bombardment ever, putting Gaza under total siege – which the UN has warned would worsen the humanitarian crisis in the impoverished, overcrowded enclave.

“By failing to condemn Hamas, Russia is giving cover to a terrorist group that brutalizes innocent civilians. It is outrageous. It is hypocritical and it is indefensible,” said the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

She said the United States, which traditionally shields its ally Israel from council action, does “agree that this council should take action, but we have to get it right and we’ll work intensively with all members on the council to do so.”

A vote on the rival Brazilian-drafted resolution was delayed until late Tuesday to give the council more time to negotiate.

The council met as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a marathon meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.

(With Reuters)

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EU to launch humanitarian air corridor to Gaza via Egypt

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