US makes the case for temporary ceasefire to UN

The United States proposed an amendment to the ceasefire resolution to the UN Security Council on February 19, Reuters reported. 

Much to the outrage of the international community, America vetoed a draft resolution on February 20 which called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the third US veto on the matter since the start of Israel’s brutal war on the besieged enclave. 

The resolution was supported by 13 out of the 15 Security Council members and the UK abstained. 

The draft proposed by Algeria was in “support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable.” 

Despite the vast majority of the world supporting the idea, the US, Israel’s biggest ally, is seemingly uncomfortable with the term “permanent ceasefire”. Various American officials have argued that an immediate and long-term cessation of hostilities would allow Hamas to run amok. 

As of February 22, the death toll in Gaza stands at nearly 30,000, 70% of whom were women and children, and 70,000 have been wounded since October. 

READ: US urges Netanyahu to stop Gaza killing spree

There are also fears that thousands will die of starvation as Israel has recently refused to let in a significant number of aid parcels into the enclave. Roughly 1 in 4 Gazan households are experiencing famine-like conditions. 

The US draft text also mentions that “under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries.” 

There are fears that a full-on invasion of Rafah, Gaza’s most southern city, will happen after 70 Palestinians were killed in a day during an Israeli “rescue mission” in which two hostages were returned on February 12. 

Netanyahu argued that on that day, a form of ground offensive was “useful” and called for increased military pressure. 

The US draft also adds that a Rafah invasion, “would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.” 

Washington’s Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield argued that the original draft runs the risk of jeopardising a deal concerning hostages. 

Around 120 hostages taken on October 7 are still in Gaza. 

Reuters

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