MSF Calls US Veto Of Gaza Ceasefire Resolution “A Vote Against Humanity”
Report from Medecins Sans Frontieres
Today, the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza—blocked by a veto from the United States. The Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. This followed a letter from the UN Secretary-General invoking Article 99 to call on the Security Council to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.
In addition to demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the draft resolution tabled by the United Arab Emirates reiterated the Security Council's demand on all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians in Palestine and Israel.
“As bombs continue to rain down on Palestinian civilians and cause widespread destruction, the US has once again used its power to block an attempt by the UN Security Council to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. By vetoing this resolution, the US stands alone in casting its vote against humanity,” said Avril Benoît, executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) USA.
“The US veto stands in sharp contrast to the values it professes to uphold. By continuing to provide diplomatic cover for the ongoing atrocities in Gaza, the US is signaling that international humanitarian law can be applied selectively—and that the lives of some people matter less than the lives of others.
“Israel has continued to indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian structures, impose a siege that amounts to collective punishment for the entire population of Gaza, force mass displacement, and deny access to vital medical care and humanitarian assistance. The US continues to provide political and financial support to Israel as it prosecutes its military operations regardless of the terrible toll on civilians. For humanitarians to be able to respond to the overwhelming needs, we need a ceasefire now. The US veto makes it complicit in the carnage in Gaza,” said Benoît.
Since the seven-day truce collapsed, MSF has witnessed a resumption of indiscriminate killing and of forced displacement at a staggering scale and intensity. In Al Aqsa hospital alone, 1,149 patients were received in the emergency from 1-7 December, 350 of whom were dead on arrival. On 6 December, the hospital received more dead patients than injured.
Our medical staff in the Gaza Strip have witnessed and treated the medical consequences of continued and systematic atrocities over the past eight weeks. Israel’s campaign of indiscriminate killing, denial of food and access to healthcare and repeated forced displacements made conditions for more than two million people unbearable. People are in the street, in the rain, there is little to no sanitation. We see significant increases in infectious diseases, including diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections, and outbreaks like hepatitis. Vital humanitarian aid must immediately be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip at scale.
Repeated assurances from both the United States and Israel that this war is being waged on combatants alone, runs counter to what we see on the ground. On the contrary, this is a total war that doesn't spare civilians. In Al Nasser hospital, Khan Younis, MSF teams were forced to leave the hospital on the evening of 4 December, due to the intensity of bombardments around the hospital. Some Ministry of Health staff have also decided to leave, fearing they will fall prey to the same violence enacted on hospitals in northern Gaza. The weekend before leaving Nasser, our colleagues saw wave after wave of mass casualties admitted. The hospital received 5,166 wounded, and 1,468 patients who were declared dead on arrival since 7 October. Seventy per cent of the dead were women and children. The evacuation orders sent by Israel create panic. People have nowhere to go; they have been bombed in the north, south and at the Rafah border. This cruel system does not spare civilians.
We despair at the intransigence of the Government of Israel, and their apparent refusal to engage with or acknowledge the scale of human suffering in Gaza. Temporary truces, humanitarian pauses, and the trickle of aid that has so far been allowed in, have been insultingly insufficient. The damage that has been done will require years of humanitarian support to alleviate – the scale of loss however, and the accompanying grief, may never be assuaged. One thing is clear - a scale-up in humanitarian assistance cannot be achieved without a ceasefire.
MSF Australia was established in 1995 and is one of 24 international MSF sections committed to delivering medical humanitarian assistance to people in crisis. In 2022, more than 120 project staff from Australia and New Zealand worked with MSF on assignment overseas. MSF delivers medical care based on need alone and operates independently of government, religion or economic influence and irrespective of race, religion or gender. For more information visit msf.org.au