US calls Algeria's proposed UN resolution demanding Israel halt offensive in Rafah not helpful

The United States says a proposed U_N_ Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and halt to Israel’s military operation in the southern city of Rafah “is not going to be helpful.”
Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States said Wednesday a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and halt to Israel's military operation in the southern city of Rafah "is not going to be helpful."

Algeria, the Arab representative on the council, circulated the draft resolution Tuesday evening to its 15 members after emergency council consultations on the escalating Israeli operation in Rafah.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters ahead of Wednesday's monthly Mideast meeting that “another resolution is not necessarily going to change anything on the ground.”

He said the U.S. is focused on getting an agreement on a temporary pause in the fighting and the release of some 125 hostages taken during Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, and then working on a long-term end to the seven-month war.

Majed Bamya, the Palestinian deputy ambassador, told the council meeting that adopting the resolution would be an important step “to force Israel to halt its military offensive and to withdraw its occupation forces, and to ensure an immediate cease-fire.”

Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama circulated the resolution as Israel pushed ahead with its military operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from Israel's Gaza offensive. Most have now fled, but the U.N. says no place in Gaza is safe and humanitarian conditions are dire.

The draft resolution demands compliance with previous council resolutions that call for the opening of all border crossings and humanitarian access to Gaza’s 2.3 million people who need food and other aid.

The draft resolution, obtained Tuesday evening by The Associated Press, also demands that the cease-fire be respected by all parties and calls for the release of all hostages.

Some diplomats said they hoped for a quick vote, even as early as Wednesday, but the U.S. opposition leaves the resolution's future in doubt.

“It is our hope that it can be done as quickly as possible because life is in the balance,” Chinese Ambassador Fu Cong told reporters after Tuesday's meeting.

The United States has vetoed multiple resolutions demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, although it abstained on a call for a temporary cessation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The draft also demands compliance with previous Security Council resolutions that call for the opening of all border crossings and humanitarian access to Gaza’s 2.3 million people who desperately need food and other aid.

The proposed resolution says that “the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security.” It expresses grave concern at “famine spreading throughout the Gaza Strip” and the suffering of Palestinians who took refuge in Rafah.

The resolution would demand that Israel "immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah.”

The draft condemns what it calls “the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, including women and children, and civilian infrastructure” and reiterates the council’s demand for all parties to comply with international law requiring the protection of civilians.