Competing U.N. Security Council proposals to respond to the escalation of violence in Gaza both failed Friday, starkly baring divisions that have paralyzed the U.N.'s most powerful body.
After months of urgent council discussions about the violence, the U.S. vetoed an Arab-backed resolution that sought to explore ways to ensure "international protection" for Palestinian civilians, while there wasn't enough support to pass a U.S. resolution to condemn Hamas.
Ten of the council's 15 members voted for the Arab-backed resolution, drafted by Kuwait; four abstained. The U.S. was the sole yes vote for its resolution, though a majority didn't take any position as 11 abstained.
So far, the council hasn't been able to agree on so much as a press statement, about what the U.N.'s Mideast envoy has called the most serious increase in violence in Gaza since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Riyad al-Malki, Palestine's foreign minister blasted the U.S. veto of the resolution. The U.S. veto "is another moral blunder," the official Wafa news agency quoted al-Malki as saying, according to the Anadolu Agency (AA). "It ignores the international consensus on the crimes and practices committed by Israel and is completely biased."
Al-Malki stressed that Palestinian diplomacy "will do its best to ensure accountability for the Israeli war criminals and achieving justice for the Palestinian people."
"This heavy silence is disastrous – for the world that is watching us, for the credibility of the council, for multilateralism," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said after voting for the Kuwaiti measure, as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
The Kuwaiti measure asked U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report on ways to ensure Palestinian civilians' "safety, protection and well-being," including recommendations about "an international protection mechanism." The proposal also emphasized the need for accountability and independent investigations into the events in Gaza. It "deplored" the recent rocket barrage, without specifying who was behind it, though Hamas and a smaller Islamic militant group have claimed responsibility.