Veto at the UN: Why does the US have the power to vote against the ceasefire in Gaza?

Countries and international human rights organizations have criticized the United States after it vetoed a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution that would have called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Council is made up of 15 member countries, of which only the US voted against the ceasefire in Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip. The United Kingdom abstained from voting.

Amnesty International accuses the United States of using its right to veto as a permanent member of the Council “blatantly as a weapon” to “defeat” the highest executive body of the UN.

In the bombings that Israel carries out on Gaza Since last October 7, when it was attacked by the armed wing of the Hamas militia group, causing more than 1,200 Israeli victims and some 240 hostages, almost 17,500 Palestinians have been murdered, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

The use of the veto “is morally indefensible and constitutes a dereliction of duty by the United States to prevent heinous crimes and respect International Law,” Amnesty noted.

Amnesty recalls that the United States has been the only country on the Security Council that has vocally opposed the invocation of the article and the night vote — the United Kingdom has abstained — in what it understands as an example of political loneliness.

But why does the United States, which is Israel’s biggest ally, have the power to stop a resolution that was approved by 13 of 15 countries in the UN Security Council?

This is how the UN Security Council is formed

There are 15 countries that are part of the United Nations Security Council.

When voting on a resolution, each member country is entitled to one vote. And there is the right to veto.

Regarding the right of veto, the UN explains the following:

“The creators of the Charter of the United Nations conceived that five countries – China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (which was succeeded in 1990 by the Federation of Russia), the United Kingdom and the United States–, due to their key roles in the establishment of the United Nations, would continue to play important roles in the maintenance of international peace and security.”

In that sense, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are permanent members of this council and have the power of a special vote, known as the right of veto.

“The editors agreed that if any of the five permanent members cast a negative vote in the 15-member Security Council, the resolution or decision would not be approved”.

Meanwhile, it is specified that if one of those five countries does not wish to veto a resolution but has a disagreement with it, it can choose to abstain. The abstention of a country with the right of veto allows the resolution to be approved if it obtains the necessary favorable votes.

In addition to those five permanent members, there are 10 other non-permanent nations, which are: Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland.

Veto makes US complicit in Palestinian genocide: Abbas

The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, accused the United States of becoming “complicit in genocide” in the Gaza Strip after unequivocally condemning the US veto at the UN, which he described as an immoral act and a shame that will haunt to the country “for many years.”

Abbas has described the US position as “aggressive and immoral, and a flagrant violation of all humanitarian values ​​and principles,” according to a statement carried by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

“This policy makes the United States complicit in the crime of genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he added.

They call for “structural reform of the UN” due to the US veto of the ceasefire in Gaza

The Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, urged this Saturday “a structural reform” of the UN after learning of the United States veto to a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

“Structural reform of the UN is urgent. The world is no longer the same as it was in 1945,” the Chilean president wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

On Wednesday, the president expressed his support for the initiative promoted by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who invoked the chapter 99 of the Charter of Nations and urged the Security Council to “press to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and join in calling for a full humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

With nearly 500 thousand people, Chile is a great refuge from palestinian community outside the arab worlda migration that began at the end of the 19th century, when hundreds of Palestinians first escaped Ottoman domination, and that increased in the 20th century with the Israeli occupation.

With information from EFE and Europapress.