March 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Russia, China Veto Ceasefire Resolution at UN

March 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Russia, China Veto Ceasefire Resolution at UN

Latest Developments

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on March 22 calling for an immediate Gaza ceasefire, the release of remaining hostages, and a halt to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. The resolution, which the United States proposed, emphasizes “the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides, allow for the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance, and alleviate humanitarian suffering.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield claimed Russian and Chinese opposition to the resolution was “deeply cynical.” “Russia and China simply did not want to vote for a resolution that was penned by the United States because it would rather see us fail than to see this council succeed,” she said.

While condemning Hamas’s October 7 attacks, the U.S. resolution expressed “concern that a ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians” and would have “serious implications for regional peace and security.” Rafah, which abuts the border with Egypt, is Hamas’s last stronghold in the Gaza Strip. Israel remains committed to sweeping Rafah in order to achieve its objective of dismantling Hamas. On February 19, the United States proposed a Security Council resolution urging Israel not to attack Rafah, citing concern for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians sheltering there. But the February resolution stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire and instead advocated for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable.” “That draft evolved into the resolution that the United States presented” on March 22, The New York Times reported.

Expert Analysis

“What’s amazing is that a resolution attempting to add international pressure on Israel to stop short of dismantling Hamas in Gaza was still opposed by China and Russia merely for calling for the release of all hostages and condemning Houthi attacks on the Red Sea. It’s important for the U.S. to go on offense at the Security Council and expose Russian and Chinese alignment with Iran and Hamas, but the underlying resolution was already unhelpful in amplifying Hamas propaganda.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“By calling for an immediate ceasefire without demanding that Hamas surrender immediately, the U.S. resolution simply kicks the can down the road. This speaks to the success of Hamas’s human shields strategy and disregard for Palestinian suffering.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

U.S. Vetoes Earlier UN Resolution

America’s February 19 resolution rivaled an Algerian resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire without an agreement to release the hostages. Washington vetoed the Algerian resolution, which Thomas-Greenfield said could “extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel, extend the hostages’ time in captivity, an experience described by former hostages as ‘hell,’ and extend the dire humanitarian crisis Palestinians are facing in Gaza.”

U.S, Israel at Odds Over Rafah

At the White House’s request, Israel is sending an interagency team to Washington to hear “an alternative approach that would target key Hamas elements in Rafah and secure the Egypt-Gaza border without a major ground invasion,” according to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Sullivan told reporters during a White House briefing on March 18 that President Joe Biden believes “a major ground operation there [Rafah] is a mistake” and “would lead to more innocent civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis, deepen the anarchy in Gaza, and further isolate Israel internationally.” Sullivan suggested that “the key goals Israel wants to achieve in Rafah can be done by other means.”

U.S. Vetoes One UN Resolution, Proposes Another Opposing Israeli Attack Against Hamas in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution Falsely Accusing Israel of Aid Convoy Deaths,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel, U.S. Officials to Meet in Washington to Discuss Rafah Operation,” FDD Flash Brief

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China International Organizations Israel Israel at War Russia