JEDDAH: World leaders, rights groups and UN officials criticized the US for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire as Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery on Saturday.
The US is among the five permanent members of the UNSC who are entitled to a veto power. The others are China, France, Russia and the UK.
China, France and Russia, along with the ten non-permanent current members of the Council — Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates — voted for the resolution. The UK abstained.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US veto made it “complicit” in war crimes in Gaza and that the US was “responsible for the bloodshed” of children.
“The president has described the American position as aggressive and immoral, a blatant violation of all humanitarian values and principles, and holds the US responsible for the bloodshed of Palestinian children, women, and elderly in Gaza” due to its support for Israel, said a statement from Abbas’s office.
Jordan’s top diplomat said the killings of Palestinian civilians in Israel’s bombardment and siege of Gaza were war crimes and threatened to destabilize the region, the US and the world for years to come.
“If people are not seeing it here, we are seeing it,” Safadi said, adding: “We’re seeing the challenges that we are facing talking to our people. They are all saying we’re doing nothing. Because despite all our efforts, Israel is continuing these massacres.”
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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, during an interview with PBS NewsHour, reiterated that the Kingdom’s stance on Gaza is the same in public and private.
Prince Faisal was refuting claims from PBS Presenter Nick Schifrin that Saudi Arabia’s “public calls do not match your private calls to destroy Hamas. Why the dual message?”
Prince Faisal said: “There is no dual message. What we say in private and what we say in public is exactly the same, not just for the Kingdom but for all the Arabs.”
He added: “I am very proud that what we are saying in public and private are the same. I can’t say the same for some of our Western interlocutors.”
Prince Faisal, who is currently leading the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee’s visit in Washington to call for a Gaza ceasefire, disagreed with the US veto and voiced disappointment at the Security Council’s inability to “take a firm position” on Gaza.
Mohamed Abushahab, UAE’s deputy UN ambassador, said: “What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?”
Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi said in a post on X: “The use of the veto at the Security Council is a shameful insult to humanitarian norms.”
China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, told the council: “Condoning the continuation of fighting while claiming to care about the lives and safety of people in Gaza is self-contradictory.”
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said: “Our colleagues from the USA have literally before our eyes issued a death sentence to thousands if not tens of thousands more civilians in Palestine and Israel.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it has approved the emergency sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $100 million as Israel intensifies its military operations.