MSF condemns US at UN for Gaza situation

February 23, 2024 4:20 pm

A displaced Palestinian child who fled due to Israeli strikes eats [Source: Reuters]

The head of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that medical teams in the Gaza Strip have come up with a new acronym: WCNSF – wounded child, no surviving family.

Lockyear slammed the United States, saying he was appalled it had repeatedly used its veto power to block the council from demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in Gaza.

The U.S. has vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions since the start of the current fighting on Oct. 7, most recently blocking on Tuesday a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as it instead pushes the council to call for a temporary ceasefire linked to the release of hostages held by Hamas.

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China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council he felt “appalled” by Lockyear’s briefing.

The United States had said it was concerned that the draft resolution it vetoed on Tuesday could jeopardize talks between the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a six week pause in the war and the release of hostages.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood did not acknowledge Lockyear’s briefing. He said the U.S. was pushing Israel to allow more aid into Gaza and had told its ally it should not proceed with a ground offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza “in the absence of a viable plan to protect civilians.”

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward described Lockyear’s briefing as “harrowing.” Britain abstained on Tuesday’s vote, while the remaining 13 council members voted in favor of the Algerian-drafted resolution.

Slovenia’s U.N. Ambassador to the Security Council, Samuel Zbogar, asked: “What kind of a council have we become if we remain untouched by the tearful briefing that we heard today by the secretary general of Médecins Sans Frontières?”

The war began when fighters from the Hamas militant group that runs Gaza attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. In retaliation, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that health authorities say has killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians with thousands more bodies feared lost amid the ruins.