The big controversy out of the UN Security Council on Wednesday is that the US vetoed a draft resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza, as Israeli airstrikes continue and ground forces are reportedly still staging for an invasion.
The draft resolution was proposed by Brazil and condemned “the terrorist attacks by Hamas,” urged the release of hostages, while calling for a “humanitarian pause” or ceasefire. 12 members approved the draft Wednesday, the UK and Russia abstained, but the United States shot it down.
US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she wanted US diplomacy to “play out” first, but also criticized the resolution text for not expressly upholding Israel’s right to self defense. Thomas-Greenfield slammed this aspect, saying in her explanation before the council:
“Colleagues, the United States is disappointed this resolution made no mention of Israel’s right of self-defense. Like every nation in the world, Israel has the inherent right of self-defense, as reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter. Following previous terrorist attacks by groups such as al-Qaida and ISIS, this Council reaffirmed that right. This text should have done the same.”
In Tel Aviv, Biden was asked in follow-up to his speech earlier in the day why he is backing Israel’s denial of being behind the hospital bombing. Biden responded that it was due to “the data I was shown by my Defense Department.”
Bloomberg, meanwhile at the conclusion of Biden’s time in Tel Aviv issued the headline, Biden Fails to Calm Fears of Wider War in 7.5-Hour Visit
Now that Biden is flying out of Israel, that “imminent” ground invasion might take place after all. All eyes will also be on the northern border to see what Hezbollah does (and by extension Iran) in response.
At a moment the whole region threatens to erupt, and as mass protests have continued across Arab capitals and in many other parts of the world, President Joe Biden arrived in Israel Wednesday pledging unwavering US support for Israel.
Breaking from other allies like France’s Macron (and some Europeans), who appeared to condemn Israel for the deadly al-Ahli Baptist Hospital bombing, Biden instead during his first meeting with Netanyahu since the crisis began sided with Israel’s narrative of events. “Based on what I have seen, it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said.
“But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure. So we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,” he added. The Israelis had the day prior emphasized they had shared their case, including intelligence they say they possess, with the Americans as Biden was en route in Air Force One to Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu then spoke of “this terrible, double-war crime against humanity” — in reference Israel’s claims that Gaza’s militant factions killed the hundreds of Palestinians at the hospital. Israel’s version of events is that an errant missile fired by the PIJ faction struck the hospital.
“While Israel seeks to minimize civilian casualties, Hamas seeks to maximize civilian casualties,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas wants to kill as many Israelis as possible and has no regard whatsoever to Palestinian lives – every day they perpetrate a double war crime, targeting our civilians while hiding behind their civilians, embedding themselves in the civilian population and using them as human shields.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has released what it says is evidence, in the form of intercepted communications, that it wasn’t Israel behind the attack: