UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – The United States vetoed Friday an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians but failed to win any backing for its own text condemning Hamas for the violence in Gaza.
The two failed votes at the Security Council came a few hours after a young Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence.
At least 123 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began at the end of March. No Israelis have been killed.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley declared that “it is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” saying council members were “willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas.”
Ten countries, including China, France and Russia voted in favor of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries. Four countries — Britain, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and Poland — abstained.
Kuwait s Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said the US veto “will increase the sense of despair among the Palestinians,” fuel further violence and “feed the sentiments of hatred and extremism.”
The Kuwait-drafted text had called for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report on proposals for an “international protection mechanism.”
Haley told the council the measure was “wildly inaccurate in its characterization of recent events in Gaza” by condemning Israel for the violence and failing to mention Hamas, which rules Gaza.
“The terrorist group Hamas bears primary responsibility for the awful living conditions in Gaza,” she told the council ahead of the vote.
During a second vote, the United States failed to win support for its own rival measure calling on Palestinian militants to halt their protests in Gaza and condemning Hamas.
Eleven countries abstained, while Russia and two others opposed it.
A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
The outcome deepened the deadlock at the top UN body over how to respond to the flareup of violence in Gaza that a UN envoy has warned is close to the brink of war.
“This session was another missed opportunity for this council,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, deploring an “increasingly deafening silence” from the United Nations on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
A barrage of rocket and mortars into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday was followed by Israeli strikes on 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip in the worst flareup since the 2014 war.
Israel has fought three wars in Gaza against Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.
After the failed votes, Arab diplomats said they were considering turning to the UN General Assembly to win adoption for the US-vetoed resolution.
It was the second time that Haley has resorted to US veto power to block a UN measure on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In December, Haley