The United States which has consistently rejected calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza War faced further pressure as the UN Security Council on Wednesday night passed a resolution calling for humanitarian pauses and safe corridors.
Even the watered down resolution did not gain the support of the U.S. It abstained. So too did the UK.
The strident support of Israel by the United States, and in particular by President Joe Biden has caused widespread anger around the world. The U.S. has used its veto to shield Israel from resolutions, insisting it has a right to self-defense and is justified in its attacks to eliminate Hamas. Late Wednesday the U.S. president even backed the raid on the Al-Shifa Hospital, despite the Israeli army's failure to provide any real evidence of its long-standing claims that it was a headquarters for Hamas and was sitting on top of a major command center with tunnels leading to and from the hospital.
Al-Shifa Hospital had been under siege for days, surrounded by tanks, with snipers firing into the 500-bed building where 1,500 people work, and thousands of people were sheltering. A baby's bottle was found and a chair, which an Israeli spokesman in videotaping various 'discoveries' pointed to the items as having belonged to hostages. However these more likely belonged to people sheltering at the hospital. Three back-packs were served up as 'evidence' they belonged to Hamas fighters as they contained, in one case a Hamas uniform. A small number of rifles were found, however, despite repeated claims over a long period, there were no Hamas fighters found on the premises, nor were there any hostages. The hospital's officials, the Palestinian health ministry, and Hamas have repeatedly denied the Israeli army's claims, backed by the U.S., that the militant group was in occupation at the premises and was using staff and patients as human shields.
When the video produced by the army was posted on social media, it was introduced as being raw video, and unedited."No cuts, no edits, just the undeniable truth." It showed a laptop that was found in a room, and it was indicated this was used by a terrorist. However it had earmarks of being a laptop owned by a member of the IDF. Next to it was a pile of CDs, however people on social media quickly pointed out the particular laptop model did not have a CD player. After this the video was deleted. A later version appeared with other aspects missing, and in particular the statement saying the video was 'unedited.' The laptop in the revised video then was blurred.
The attempt by the Israeli army to verify its claims of Hamas using Shifa Hospital as a command center was raised in the Palestinian UN observer's speech following Wednesday night's passing of the UN Security Council resolution.
Twelve members of the 15-member council voted in favor of the resolution while the United States, the UK and Russia abstained.
Russia wanted a complete cessation of hostilities, while the U.S. and UK, accepting of humanitarian pauses, demanded a condemnation of Hamas be included in the wording of the resolution.
Riyad Mansour, observer for the State of Palestine to the United Nations, said the Security Council should have called for a ceasefire.
"It is a failure of humanity of terrifying magnitude," he said. "But for now, the urgency is to save lives. Stop the killing, stop the forced displacement, allow humanitarian aid in and ensure humanitarian access, protect civilians and civilian infrastructure."
He told the council, Israel's intentions had become clear through its leaders statements, leaked memos, and op-eds.
"Let us stop pretending we don't hear what this government is saying," he said. "Its plan is the continued dispossession, displacement and denial of rights of the Palestinian people. To complete the Nakba. This madness must be brought to an end," he said.
Responding to the U.S. and UK insistence that a resolution should have included a condemnation of Hamas for its attacks which killed 1,200 Israelis, Mansour said: "If we are going to talk about the condemnations missing from the resolution, let me remind you of the following: The resolution did not condemn the racist and disgusting Israeli propaganda methods mocked around the world and which constitute an insult to our intelligence. It did not condemn the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, men, women and children, nor called for their immediate and unconditional release. It did not condemn the assault on hospitals and schools. It did not condemn the killing by Israel of UN staff, journalists, humanitarian personnel, doctors, and rescue teams. The resolution did not condemn the killing by Israel of 11,000 Palestinians, overwhelmingly civilians, including 5,000 Palestinian children. It did not condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israel."