U.N. Security Council Chambe

The empty Security Council Chamber is pictured at U.N. headquarters in New York City on December 20, 2023.

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'Whole World Is Watching': US Delays Security Council Vote on Gaza for Third Time

"Will the U.S. government listen to the world's demands? Or will it continue in its deadly inhuman course?" asked the secretary-general of Amnesty International.

For the third time this week, the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday delayed a closely watched vote on a Gaza resolution at the request of the Biden administration, which is becoming increasingly lonely on the world stage as it continues to arm the Israeli military and oppose global calls for a lasting cease-fire.

An earlier version of the resolution, led by the United Arab Emirates, called for a "cessation of hostilities" in Gaza and Israel. But under the threat of another U.S. veto, negotiators altered the text to demand an "urgent suspension of hostilities."

The vote has been rescheduled for 10:00 am ET Thursday.

Reutersreported that the U.S. is objecting to language in the draft text that asks U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to "establish a U.N. mechanism in Gaza 'to exclusively monitor all humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza provided through land, sea, and air routes of those states that are not parties to the conflict.'"

U.N. officials have repeatedly warned that nowhere near enough aid is reaching Gazans and that conditions in the territory—including Israel's relentless bombardment—have made it impossible to safely deliver humanitarian supplies.

According toThe New York Times, Israel "has been pressuring the United States to reject putting the U.N. in charge of inspections, because it would effectively leave Israel with no role in screening the shipments."

In addition, the U.S. is reportedly "wary" of language calling on Israel and Hamas to allow "the use of all land, sea, and air routes" throughout the Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid deliveries, which displaced and starving Gazans desperately need. A study released Tuesday estimated that more than 70% of Gazans are suffering from extreme hunger, and Amnesty International has accused Israel of using starvation as a "method of warfare."

The besieged territory is also facing a worsening water crisis, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, which described Gaza as the world's most dangerous place for kids as Israel's indiscriminate bombing campaign, ground assault, and blockade carry on, undeterred by mild prodding from U.S. officials to protect civilians.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary-general, wrote on social media Wednesday that "millions of people around the world have advocated for a cease-fire and are now waiting for the U.N. Security Council vote over humanitarian access to Gaza."

"Will the U.S. government listen to the world's demands?" she asked. "Or will it continue in its deadly inhuman course?"

"The bottom line is that while American and worldwide public opinion of Israeli behavior is shifting, U.S. policy is stuck and increasingly isolated."

Before the third delay was announced, HuffPost's Akbar Shahid Ahmed reported Wednesday morning that diplomats at the U.N. Security Council were preparing for the U.S. to wield its veto power for the second time in less than two weeks to tank a Gaza resolution. Earlier this month, a U.S. veto stopped the body from calling for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire."

"The whole world is watching the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza," U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote as the Security Council convened Wednesday. "The U.S. must not veto a reasonable resolution to stop the hostilities and get in the massive humanitarian aid needed."

Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director at Human Rights Watch, said that another Biden administration veto would be "a huge nail in the coffin of U.S. credibility when it comes to its stated commitment to the laws of war."

During a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized nations calling for a cease-fire and said the Biden administration is engaging "extensively and constructively with a number of countries to try to resolve some of the outstanding issues" in the UAE-led Security Council resolution.

"I hope we can get to a good place," said Blinken.

James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute, argued Wednesday that "events of the past week have highlighted how the U.S.'s feckless indulgent behavior toward policies pursued by Israel has damaged America's standing in the world."

"Instead of addressing with any seriousness the massive loss of Palestinian life and the desperate conditions under which the survivors have been forced to live, the U.S. continues to prioritize Israel's fantasy military objective of 'eliminating Hamas.' As a result, U.S. policymakers deem calls for a ceasefire as disruptive," Zogby wrote. "The bottom line is that while American and worldwide public opinion of Israeli behavior is shifting, U.S. policy is stuck and increasingly isolated."

This story has been updated from an earlier version to reflect new developments at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday afternoon.

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