U.S. Call for Gaza Cease-Fire Runs Into Russia-China Veto at U.N.

A U.S. bid to have the U.N. Security Council call for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip failed on Friday, after Russia and China vetoed the American resolution that included some of Washington’s strongest language since the start of the war.

The resolution reflected the Biden administration’s growing frustration both with the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Israel’s conduct in a war that has killed about 30,000 people and reduced much of the enclave to ruins. The administration has been pressuring Israel not to attack the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where more than a million civilians have sought refuge, and to enable more aid to enter the territory.

But international frictions, including over Washington’s previous use of its veto power in the Security Council and its refusal to call for a permanent cease-fire, doomed the resolution. Eleven members voted in favor of the resolution, but Russia and China — permanent members — voted against it, as did Algeria. Guyana abstained.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who was traveling in Israel on Friday, expressed disappointment that the resolution failed.

“I think we were trying to show the international community a sense of urgency about getting a cease-fire tied to the release of hostages, something that everyone, including the countries that vetoed the resolution, should have been able to get behind,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel reiterated his stance that despite growing international criticism, his country’s ground forces would launch an offensive into Rafah to root out Hamas, the group that led the Oct. 7 assault that precipitated Israel’s invasion of Gaza. The Biden administration has said repeatedly that an incursion into Rafah, which is on the border with Egypt, would cause heavy civilian casualties and impede aid delivery.

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