(CTN News) – The recent failure of the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution addressing the ongoing situation in Gaza once again highlights the longstanding issue of US veto power in matters related to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This article delves into the history of this controversial practice and examines key resolutions that have been blocked by the United States.
Recent Developments at the UN Security Council:
On a recent occasion, two competing draft resolutions were rejected by member states at the UN Security Council. The US-drafted resolution, calling for “humanitarian pauses” and recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, was vetoed by Russia and China.
A second draft resolution, sponsored by Russia, which called for a humanitarian ceasefire, also failed to gain sufficient votes. The US was prepared to veto the resolution had it gained approval.
Historical Use of US Veto Power:
The United States has a long history of employing its veto power to prevent resolutions critical of Israel or calling for Palestinian statehood.
Since 1945, there have been 36 UNSC draft resolutions related to the Israel-Palestine conflict that were vetoed by one of the five permanent members. Out of these, 34 were vetoed by the US, and two by Russia and China.
These resolutions aimed to establish a framework for peace in the conflict, including adhering to international laws, self-determination for Palestinian statehood, and condemning Israeli actions such as displacement of Palestinians and settlement building in occupied territories.
Notably, the US has exercised its veto power 46 times, even over issues such as Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, where Washington recognized Israeli sovereignty in 2019, reversing decades of US policy.
Key Resolutions Blocked by the US:
Several significant resolutions related to the Israel-Palestine conflict have been blocked by the US. For example, a resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” and the rescission of Israel’s evacuation order for northern Gaza was blocked in 2023. The US argued that resolutions must be informed by facts and support direct diplomacy.
In 2018, a resolution condemning the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians was vetoed by the US. It called for lasting peace with two democratic states, Israel and Palestine. The US Ambassador to the UN at the time, Nikki Haley, criticized it as presenting a one-sided view of events in Gaza.
In 2017, after the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a draft resolution asserting that such actions had no legal effect and demanding the status of Jerusalem be determined in line with UN regulations was blocked by the US.
Following the second Intifada in 2000, a resolution expressing concern at the violent events and calling on Israel to abide by its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention was vetoed by the US.
The use of US veto power in the Israel-Palestine conflict has been a contentious issue for decades. It has resulted in the blocking of resolutions aimed at addressing various aspects of the conflict. Understanding this history is crucial in comprehending the challenges faced in achieving a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the dynamics within the United Nations Security Council.