UN Security Council
The UN Security Council meets on a motion for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal vote at UN headquarters in New York, on March 22, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Russia and China vetoed a US-backed resolution Friday in the United Nations Security Council that would have said the world body “determines the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians” in Gaza.

It was the closest the US has come to pressing its ally Israel, which has endorsed only a limited halt in fighting to free hostages held by Hamas.

But the US resolution also included a condemnation of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. Most UN proposals by other nations have left out criticism of Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

“Gaza has virtually been wiped from the earth and now the US representative without blinking has been asserting that Washington has finally begun to recognise the need for a ceasefire,” Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told the council before voting against the resolution. “This sluggish thought process in Washington has cost the lives of 32,000 Palestinians.”

The vote on the resolution was 11 in favour, 3 against and 1 abstention. But the measure failed because Russia and China hold veto power on the Security Council.