The US blocked a Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza

by time news

2023-12-09 05:41:11

The United States yesterday blocked an extraordinary UN attempt to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, as Israeli forces continued their relentless offensive to destroy Hamas following its deadly terrorist attack two months ago.

The fighting has left 17,487 dead in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the latest balance sheet from the Hamas-led Ministry of Health.

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas for its unprecedented attack on October 7, when militants crossed the militarized Gaza border to kill some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, including women, the elderly and children, and take 138 hostages. of whom remain captive, according to Israeli figures.

Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to a wasteland. According to the UN, about 80% of the population has been displaced and faces severe shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, as well as the growing threat of disease.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked the rarely used Article 99 of the UN Charter to call an emergency meeting of the Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire. He urged the release of the hostages, but stated that “the brutality perpetrated by Hamas can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

But the United States, which provides billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, vetoed the resolution. Her deputy UN representative, Robert Wood, said she was “divorced from reality” and “would not have moved the needle on the ground.”

And this despite warnings from the World Health Organization that civilization was collapsing in Gaza. “People are starting to cut down telephone poles to have some firewood to keep warm or maybe cook, if they have any available,” said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the Security Council was “complicit in the ongoing slaughter”.

Battles on multiple fronts. The Israeli army claimed to have attacked 450 targets in Gaza in 24 hours, showing images of attacks from warships in the Mediterranean. The Hamas Health Ministry reported 40 dead near Gaza City in the north, and dozens more in Jabalia and the main southern city of Khan Younis.

Israel has lost 91 soldiers in Gaza. Israel stated that two others were wounded in a failed attempt to rescue the hostages overnight and that “numerous terrorists” were killed in the operation. Hamas claimed that one hostage had been killed in the operation and released a video purportedly showing the body, which could not be independently verified.

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Parts of Hamas rockets, shuttles and other weapons, as well as a kilometer-long tunnel, were found at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City, according to the army, which warned residents to move west. .

Many of the 1.9 million displaced Gazans have headed south, turning Rafah, near the Egyptian border, into a vast camp.

The death toll also rose in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot dead six Palestinians yesterday, the territory’s Health Ministry said.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al Qa-ssam Brigades, claimed to have fired more rockets into Israeli territory.

The war has also led to deadly cross-border exchanges on the Lebanese border.

Protect civilians. An attack on the US embassy in Iraq has raised fears of a broader regional conflict.

Barrages of rockets were fired at the mission in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, adding to dozens of recent rocket and drone attacks by pro-Iran groups against U.S. or coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated near the US embassy in Amman to denounce Washington’s support for Israel. French President Emmanuel Macron was the latest world leader to push for more aid to Gaza, urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call to reopen the Kerem Shalom checkpoint that handled more than half of the assets in the besieged territory before October 7.

According to the UN, 69 trucks with supplies and fuel from Egypt entered on Thursday, well below the average of 500 trucks a day that entered before the war. US President Joe Biden earlier urged Netanyahu to open “corridors” so civilians can move safely.

Israelis, deeply traumatized by the Hamas terrorist attack and fearful for the fate of the hostages, celebrated the Jewish holiday of lights, Hanukkah, which began Thursday.

In Tel Aviv, a candelabra with a 138-branched menorah was lit for the hostages.

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