Why US ceasefire proposal failed at UNSC

Credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Russia and China just vetoed Biden's draft resolution on Gaza at the UN Security Council. Algeria also voted against it.

Though the resolution fell short of clearly demanding a ceasefire, Moscow and Beijing nevertheless enable Biden to shift the blame to Russia for the Council's inaction, even though Biden has been the key obstacle to progress at the Council for the last six months.

Though much of the debate will be on their vetoes, an analysis of the resolution text reveals both movements in Biden's position, as well as why his shift remains insufficient in many aspects.

First of all, this is significantly stronger than previous American drafts, yet it still falls short of a clear and unequivocal demand for an unconditional ceasefire. One one hand, it no longer calls for a ceasefire as soon as practicable, as a previous U.S. resolution did, which was a remarkably weak formulation. But the operative clause is still very convoluted and unnecessarily complicated — which has become the hallmark of everything Biden has done on Gaza:

(The Security Council) Determines the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides, allow for the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance, and alleviate humanitarian suffering, and towards that end unequivocally supports ongoing international diplomatic efforts to secure such a ceasefire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages;