Dueling Russia and US resolutions on Israel-Hamas war fail to advance in UN

The U.S. ambassador called the veto they faced a "setback."

October 25, 2023, 8:46 PM

Dueling resolutions on the Israel-Hamas war put forth to the U.N. Security Council by Russia and the U.S. both failed on Wednesday, illustrating the chamber's deadlock on the conflict.

Russia's version called for a humanitarian ceasefire and avoided condemning Hamas, which launched a terror attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and spurred the war. The Russian measure didn't secure the votes needed to advance, with Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Gabon voting in favor of the draft, nine members abstaining and both the U.S. and the U.K. voting against it.

While the U.S. has emphasized Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas, officials also worked to find a middle ground that would placate a majority of members, urging a pause to military action in Gaza, the Palestinian territory next to Israel that Hamas controls.

The U.S. measure secured the votes it needed to advance out of the council but was ultimately vetoed by Russia and China. The five permanent members of the Security Council -- the U.S., Russia, China, France and the U.K. -- have veto power.

"The United States is deeply disappointed that Russia and China vetoed this resolution. A resolution that, as I've said, was strong and it was balanced," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. "That was the product of consultations with members of this council. We did listen to all of you. We incorporated feedback. And we worked to forge consensus around a resolution that would send a clear message to the world -- and most importantly, to Israelis and Palestinians -- that this council is determined to meet this moment."

"Though today's vote was a setback, we must not be deterred," Thomas-Greenfield added, reiterating that the U.S. goal is "to build a more peaceful and secure future for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

PHOTO: The United Nations flag waves during preparations for the UNGA 2023 at the United Nations headquarters, Sept. 13, 2023, in New York.
The United Nations flag waves during preparations for the UNGA 2023 at the United Nations headquarters, Sept. 13, 2023, in New York.
View Press/Corbis via Getty Images

In a speech at the Security Council on Tuesday where he announced that the U.S. would offer up a draft resolution defining the U.N.’s role in the conflict, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a forceful defense of Israel’s military actions but said that “humanitarian pauses must be considered” to protect civilians in Gaza -- the Biden administration’s strongest statement of support for any type of halt in Israel’s efforts to vanquish Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization.

More than 1,400 people were killed by the Hamas attacks in Israel, according to Israeli officials, while more than 6,500 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, whose figures have not been independently confirmed by ABC News.

"First, we all recognize the right and, indeed, the imperative of states to defend themselves against terrorism. That's why we must unequivocally condemn Hamas and its barbaric terrorist attack against Israel," Blinken said Tuesday, listing some of the atrocities committed by Hamas militants.

"Parents executed in front of their children. Children executed in front of their parents. And so many taken hostage in Gaza," he said. "We have to ask -- indeed, it must be asked -- where's the outrage? Where's the revulsion? Where's the rejection? Where's the explicit condemnation of these horrors?"

In his remarks, Blinken also detailed the administration's efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading outward in the Middle East but emphasized the threat posed by Iran and promised the U.S. would not allow recent militia attacks on American soldiers to go unanswered.

"We do not want this war to widen, but if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake," he said. "We will defend our people, we will defend our security -- swiftly and decisively."