US threatens to block new UN Security Council vote on Gaza ceasefire

New York, New York - The UN Security Council could hold a vote this week, sought by Algeria, on a resolution seeking an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza, diplomatic sources told AFP Saturday, although Washington again appeared set to block it.

Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the US would block a new draft of a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza.
Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the US would block a new draft of a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Algeria launched discussions on a new draft after the International Court of Justice ruled in late January that Israel must do all it can to prevent genocidal acts in its attacks on Gaza, which it claims is targeting Hamas militants.

The latest version of the text, seen by AFP Saturday, "demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that must be respected by all parties."

It also "rejects forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population," and it "demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

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Algeria has requested a UN Security Council vote on Tuesday as the death toll in Gaza has reached at least 28,858 people, but Washington signaled it is likely to veto the measure.

US President Joe Biden is working with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of Egypt and Qatar on a hostage deal that would bring about six weeks of a "prolonged pause in fighting," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Algeria's proposed draft.

"The resolution put forward in the Security Council, in contrast, would not achieve these outcomes, and indeed, may run counter to them," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"The United States does not support action on this draft resolution," she added. "Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted."

US vetoes prior UN Security Council resolutions

Like previous texts opposed by Israel and the United States, the new text does not condemn the attack by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in the death of about 1,160 people in Israel, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Earlier this month, Thomas-Greenfield said that Algeria's latest initiative risked derailing the negotiations.

"We believe that it is high time now for the Security Council to decide on a humanitarian ceasefire resolution," Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour said recently, adding there is "massive support" for the text's elements among council members.

In October and December, despite international pressure over Gaza's growing humanitarian crisis, Washington vetoed texts calling for a ceasefire.

The Security Council has adopted just two resolutions on Gaza since October 7, including one calling for large-scale delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory.

Cover photo: Collage: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP & SAID KHATIB / AFP

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