Wed 21 Feb 2024 2:41 pm - Jerusalem Time

Washington rejects the Brazilian President's statements and insists on condemning Hamas in any UN resolution

The United States announced its rejection of the statements of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in which he likened the Israeli military campaign in Gaza to the Holocaust, on the eve of his meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in response to a question regarding what the Brazilian president said: “It is clear that we do not agree with these statements. We have been very clear that we do not believe that genocide has occurred in Gaza.”

Miller added: "We want to see the conflict end as soon as possible. We want to see an increase in humanitarian aid in a sustainable way for innocent civilians in Gaza. But we do not agree with those comments."

The United States refuses to describe what is happening in Gaza as “genocide,” knowing that at least more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, and at least 10,000 are missing, 65,000 wounded, and more than 1.8 million displaced, while more than 80% of Gaza has been destroyed. At the hands of the Israeli war machine, with its weapons, equipment, and American funding, since Israel launched its war on the Gaza Strip 138 days ago.

Washington used its veto power against the draft ceasefire resolution in the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, submitted by Algeria on behalf of the Arab group, with the approval of 13 other members of the Council and Britain abstaining from voting, and began promoting an alternative draft resolution that uses “Temporary ceasefire,” instead of the word temporary truce, or a break in the fighting, which the US administration has been using until today.

Regarding the use of the word “ceasefire” in a draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council, and whether this change in wording recently used by US President Joe Biden indicates a change in US policy towards the Israeli war on Gaza, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said: ) Tuesday “Obviously the word 'temporary' does that. The president made that point last week, and now you've seen the draft resolution that we're working on. But this is an issue that we've been working on for some time, trying to get a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of "Hostages, which is something that we think is critical to try to achieve and that we will continue to focus on."

Regarding whether the use of the term “ceasefire,” even if it was conditional on the word temporary, came as a result of local and international pressure on the administration, Miller said: “No, I think it is related to how we respond to the situation on the ground and the situation in the region. We are trying to reach a temporary ceasefire or you can call it a pause; you can call it by whatever name you prefer - to secure the release of the hostages."

"We worked on a humanitarian truce last year, and we were successful in doing that," Miller added. "It didn't go as well as we wanted. We took some hostages out. We didn't get them all out. Now we're back trying to get a longer pause, a longer temporary ceasefire," Miller added, and to secure the release not only of some hostages, but of all hostages.”

He said: "I would like to say that we have made it very clear that we do not want to see just a temporary ceasefire, but we want to see ultimately a permanent end to hostilities, an end that guarantees the protection of Palestinian civilians, and that we obtain humanitarian assistance for them."

Miller reiterated: "This is one of the reasons why we oppose resolutions at the United Nations, not only today but in the past, because we believe that a mere unconditional ceasefire will only benefit Hamas."

It is noteworthy that the American draft resolution regarding the war in Gaza, according to Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, calls for a temporary ceasefire in the Strip as soon as possible, based on the formula of releasing all hostages.

The project also calls on the Security Council to condemn the Hamas movement, with Greenfield saying, “Most of us agree that it is time for this council to condemn Hamas.”

It is noteworthy that if the American resolution is adopted, it will be the first Security Council resolution condemning Hamas.

The American text also makes clear that Hamas has no place in the future governance of Gaza, and that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their right to self-determination.

In addition, the American project states that “the area of land in the Gaza Strip cannot be reduced” and rejects any forced displacement of civilians in Gaza. The project also highlights concerns about the fate of civilians in Rafah, and makes clear that, under the current circumstances, a major ground attack on Rafah should not be launched.

Greenfield stressed in this regard, saying, “This is not an effort to cover up an imminent ground incursion, but rather an honest statement of our concern for the 1.5 million civilians who have taken refuge in Rafah.”

"Civilians must be protected and given access to humanitarian assistance and basic services," she added.

In this regard, the US text sets out a path for implementing Resolutions 2712 and 2720, including provisions calling for expanding the scope of aid.

The decision also advances the mandate of the Chief Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator in Gaza, Sigrid Kaag.

As in previous resolutions, the new American resolution focuses on protecting civilians and humanitarian workers, and calls for lifting all barriers to providing humanitarian assistance, opening additional humanitarian routes, and keeping current border crossings open.

The American draft also aims to support the Secretary-General's efforts to investigate UNRWA employees accused of participating in the October 7 attack on Israel, and also supports the work of the Independent Review Group led by Catherine Colonna, which focuses on ensuring UNRWA's neutrality.

The American draft affirms "the United States' firm commitment to the vision of a two-state solution: where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace, within secure and recognized borders under renewed Palestinian authority."


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Washington rejects the Brazilian President's statements and insists on condemning Hamas in any UN resolution