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Russia and China both vetoed a U.S.-sponsored United Nations resolution supporting an immediate and sustained cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, arguing that the language used was not strong enough. The resolution called for an “immediate and sustained cease-fire,” which was seen as ambiguous and not a direct demand to end the fighting. This move highlighted a shift by the United States, which has been criticized for not taking a stronger stance against its ally Israel, a situation that has caused a dire humanitarian crisis for Palestinians in Gaza.

The Security Council vote became a diplomatic showdown involving world powers that are embroiled in tense disputes elsewhere. Both Russia and China criticized the U.S. for not being tougher against Israel and called the resolution’s language philosophical and not suitable for a U.N. resolution. The U.S. has previously linked calls for a cease-fire with demands for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza. This resolution continued to incorporate both issues but in a less firm manner. The debate surrounding the resolution underscores the challenge of finding a diplomatic solution amidst escalating tensions and ongoing violence.

The vote saw eleven members in favor, three against (including Russia and China), and one abstention. The U.S. ambassador accused Russia and China of voting for cynical reasons and not condemning Hamas’ terrorist attacks. This veto marked the fourth time the U.S. had vetoed a resolution demanding a cease-fire. The resolution, while legally binding, would not have immediately ended the violence in Gaza but would have increased pressure on Israel amid global calls for a cease-fire and diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.

In a separate move, the 10 elected members of the Security Council put forward their resolution calling for a humanitarian cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to be respected by all parties. The resolution also demanded the immediate release of hostages and emphasized the urgent need to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza. However, there were concerns about the text potentially giving Hamas an excuse to reject the deal. The Security Council has previously adopted resolutions addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, but none has called for a cease-fire.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in a significant loss of life and a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with the death toll nearing 32,000 Palestinians. The United States, along with other countries, has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to negotiate a cease-fire and secure the release of hostages. The international community and humanitarian organizations have raised concerns about the risk of famine in northern Gaza and the urgent need for increased aid and cease-fire agreements to prevent further escalation of the crisis.

Pressure continues to mount on Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, open additional land crossings, and agree to a cease-fire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to escalate the military offensive to the southern city of Rafah, a Hamas stronghold, further complicating efforts to reach a peaceful resolution. The Security Council’s efforts to address the conflict reveal the complex nature of the crisis and the challenges of finding a sustainable and lasting solution to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

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