The ‘darkest hour’ in the UN’s history as the U.S. vetoes a call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The ‘darkest hour’ in the UN’s history as the U.S. vetoes a call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The Guardian reports:

The UN is at “breaking point” in Gaza, its most senior official has warned, as his colleagues described the “untenable” humanitarian catastrophe in the territory, with 700 people sharing a single toilet and people burning plastic to keep warm.

One official said UN agencies were “barely operational” and staff were bringing their children to work “so they know they are safe or can die together”.

Another said Gaza society was “on the brink of full-blown collapse”, with civil order breaking down.

António Guterres, the UN’s secretary general, told a meeting of the security council in New York: “We are at a breaking point. There is a high risk of a total collapse of the humanitarian system.”

People were “desperate, fearful and angry” and were “looking into the abyss”, he said.

Urging the UN to back a security council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Guterres said: “The eyes of the world and the eyes of history are watching.”

Late on Friday afternoon, the US vetoed the resolution calling for a ceasefire. Thirteen countries on the 15-member council supported the motion, with the UK abstaining.

After the vote, United Arab Emirates deputy ambassador Mohamed Abushahab warned that the Security Council is growing isolated and “appears untethered” from its mandate to ensure international peace and security.

“What is the message we are sending Palestinians if we cannot unite behind a call to halt the relentless bombardment of Gaza?” Abushahab asked. “Indeed, what is the message we are sending civilians across the world who may find themselves in similar situations?”

Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), the main UN agency in Gaza, said it was “the darkest hour” in the organisation’s history. [Continue reading…]

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