Russia, China veto US push for UN action on Israel, Gaza

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Russia and China on Wednesday vetoed a U.S. push for the United Nations Security Council to act on the Israel-Hamas conflict by calling for pauses in fighting to allow humanitarian aid access, the protection of civilians and a stop to arming Hamas and other militants in the Gaza Strip.

The United States put forward a draft resolution on Saturday as global outcry grew over a worsening humanitarian crisis and mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. It made the move just days after it vetoed a humanitarian focused draft from Brazil, arguing more time was needed for U.S.-led diplomacy.

The initial U.S. text shocked many diplomats with its bluntness in stating Israel has a right to defend itself and demanding Iran stop exporting arms to militant groups. It did not include a call for humanitarian pauses for aid access. But it largely toned down the final text that was put to the vote.

“We did listen to all of you,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member council after the double veto, which she described as disappointing. “Though today’s vote was a setback, we must not be deterred.”

It was a rare move by the United States to suggest Security Council action. Washington has traditionally shielded its ally Israel at the world body.

Ten members voted for the U.S. text, while the United Arab Emirates voted no and Brazil and Mozambique abstained.

“The draft does not reflect the world’s strongest calls for a ceasefire, an end to the fighting, and it does not help resolve the issue,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council after the vote. “At this moment, ceasefire is not just a diplomatic term. It means the life and death of many civilians.”

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