US Veto Threat Once Again Delays Security Council Vote on Gaza Ceasefire

The Biden administration veto threat is in defense of the Israeli government's desire to continue the conflict for months

The White House threatened to veto a UN Security Council resolution that would call for a ceasefire in Gaza and set up an expedited inspection mechanism for bringing aid into Gaza. The US is demanding that the resolution affirm Israel’s right to self-defense and that the part of the text calling for a ceasefire be changed. The vote was scheduled for Monday but has been delayed three times this week because of the US veto threat.

According to the Associated Press, “The US is seeking to change the text’s references to a cessation of hostilities in the Israel-Hamas war and to putting the United Nations in charge of inspecting trucks to ensure they are actually carrying humanitarian goods, which Israel opposes.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Washington has two additional issues with the resolution. “It’s important for us, if the Security Council is going to speak on this, that there’s a condemnation of Hamas and what they did on the 7th of October, there’s a recognition of the need for Israel to be able to defend itself, and there’s of course, significant commitment by all members on getting humanitarian assistance into the people of Gaza.”

The UNSC was scheduled to vote on the resolution on Monday, but the body has delayed the motion in an effort to find a compromise that will placate Washington. Even if the US veto threat remains, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, which sponsored the Arab-backed resolution, said the UN’s most powerful body will vote on the motion Thursday.

The Biden administration has firmly opposed any suggestions that Israel should end its military operations in Gaza. The Israeli onslaught has decimated Gaza. Over 20,000 are dead, most women and children. Additionally, the infrastructure has been left in ruins, adding starvation and epidemics to the threats Palestinians face daily.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed Washington was concerned that the creation of a UN mechanism for inspecting aid entering Gaza would slow the process. However, aid groups have criticized Tel Aviv for the current intense inspection system that has caused bottlenecks in deliveries to Gaza.

On Monday, the text concerning the ceasefire called for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” By Wednesday, the resolution was watered down to a call “for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

The resolution calls for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a UN-exclusive monitor system for aid entering Gaza. After October 7, Israel placed a near-total siege on Gaza. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Israeli forces are “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while willfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”

HRW said the amount of aid is “at grossly insufficient levels.” Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director concluded, “Israel has been depriving Gaza’s population of food and water, a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare.”

The World Food Program reports over half of the households in Gaza are experiencing severe levels of hunger and only ten percent of the food required to feed the people in the Strip has entered Gaza since October 7. Gaza’s medical system is also on the brink of collapse with medical facilities reporting frequent attacks by Israeli forces and a lack of resources.

In November, the UNSC passed a resolution calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza. The US abstained from that vote. On December 8, Washington vetoed a resolution that demanded a ceasefire.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.