US vetoes Brazil UN resolution calling for Israel-Hamas ceasefire News
Neptuul, CC By-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
US vetoes Brazil UN resolution calling for Israel-Hamas ceasefire

The Brazil-penned UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict was vetoed Wednesday by the US. The resolution advocated a temporary ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians who are caught in the midst of the war. Despite the resolution explicitly condemning Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel, the US vetoed the resolution as it did not “mention Israel’s right of self-defense.”

Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, all nations have “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs.” Given the recent incursion made into Israel by Hamas insurgents, the US claims that any resolution made towards the conflict should also recognize Israel’s right to self-defense. The UK, a key US ally, abstained from the vote on the resolution, claiming that, as well as not giving Israel recognition of its inherent right to self-defense, the resolution also failed to recognize that Hamas had turned the population of Gaza into victims by turning them into human shields. The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Barbara Woodward, ended her remarks by stating that while Israel has a right to self-defense which it should exercise, it must also exercise all possible caution to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza. 

The only other nation on the 15-strong council to abstain was Russia, which did so because the council rejected an earlier draft resolution it lodged and two amendments to the current resolution, both of which called for an end to hostilities and a complete ceasefire. It also called for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and stated that both sides must cease targeting civilians. Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia stated that the current resolution would “not help to stop the bloodshed” as it has no long-term plan for peace in the region. Nebenzia went on to claim that unless a long-term plan for stability in Gaza is implemented, there would be no way for the UN to “address the human situation in Gaza and polarize positions of the international community.” 

All the remaining members of the Security Council including nations such as China and the United Arab Emirates voted in favour of the resolution. Ambassador Sérgio França Danese of Brazil who introduced the resolution stated upon its failure that “Very sadly, the Council was yet again unable to adopt a resolution on the crisis, again silence and inaction prevailed.”