Russia and China VETO U.S. resolution in the UN calling for an ‘immediate’ Gaza ceasefire and the release of all hostages

Russia and China have vetoed a U.S. draft resolution in the United Nations calling for an ‘immediate and sustained’ ceasefire in Gaza.

The resolution called for the halt in hostilities for roughly six weeks to protect civilians and allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. 

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said it was exceedingly politicized and contained an effective green light for Israel to mount a military operation in Rafah. 

Eleven nations voted for the U.S.-backed resolution, which declared ‘the imperative of an immediate and sustained cease-fire.’

Antony Blinken has landed in Israel as the UN prepares to vote on a US ceasefire proposal today

The vote came amid deteriorating conditions inside Gaza, where local officials say more than 30,000 people have been killed since Israel launched its war on Hamas following the October 7 attack inside Israel.

During three earlier UN votes demanding an end to the fighting, it was the U.S. exercising its veto through its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv Friday amid ongoing talks to try to negotiate a temporary cease fire.

He met with Arab diplomats in Cairo, where he said an Israeli assault on Rafah, where more than a million people have gathered inside Gaza, would be a ‘mistake.’ He is also calling for a surge in humanitarian assistance.

He is meeting with Prime Miniter Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet amid tensions with the Biden administration. Netanyahu called in to a Senate luncheon meeting this week of Republican senators, but Senate Democrats didn’t invite him following Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s floor speech calling for new elections in Israel and saying Netanyahu had ‘lost his way.’

‘Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah,’ Schumer said, in a speech President Biden called ‘good.’

The talks are aiming to establish a pause in the fighting and the return of an estimated 200 hostages seized by Hamas during the October 7 attack, with negotiations focusing on Palestinian prisoners held inside Israel. 

Amid reports of widespread hunger and even famine amid continued attacks and struggles to organize aid distribution, European Leaders issued a statement calling ‘for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and the provision of humanitarian assistance.’

The latest language in the resolution reflects growing concerns within the administration and abroad about the situation in Gaza.

A prior version circulated last month called for a cease fire ‘as soon as practicable,’ and President Biden and top security aides have defended Israel’s right to defend itself by striking back at Hamas.

With the defeat of the U.S. backed resolution, France is stepping in to try to restart efforts.

‘Following Russia’s and China’s veto a few minutes ago, we are going to resume work on the basis of the French draft resolution in the Security Council and work with our American, European and Arab partners to reach an agreement,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday.

There is also a domestic political component, amid concerns Israel’s war in Gaza could run through the summer in a U.S. election year if Netanyahu goes ahead with plans for an operation in Rafah.

A new CNN poll released Friday showed Biden down eight points to predecessor Donald Trump in battleground Michigan, which is home to the nation’s largest Islamic population.