US says Algeria’s proposed UN resolution on Rafah is not balanced

By Thomson Reuters May 30, 2024 | 1:48 PM

By Daphne Psaledakis and Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Algeria’s proposed draft U.N. Security Council resolution on a Gaza ceasefire, which specifically calls for a halt to Israel’s offensive in Rafah, is not balanced, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, saying it does not blame Palestinian militant group Hamas for the conflict.

“It is imbalanced and it fails to note a simple fact which is that Hamas is to blame for this conflict,” a State Department spokesperson told reporters in a press briefing, without specifying if the U.S. would veto the resolution.

Algeria’s draft also calls for the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

To pass, a council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by any of its permanent members: the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China. The U.S. has so far shielded its ally Israel by vetoing three draft council resolutions on the war in Gaza.

Algeria said the aim of the move was to “stop the killing in Rafah.” Algeria is a council member for 2024/25.

The Algerian draft text “decides that Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah.”

It cites a ruling by the International Court of Justice last week that ordered Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide. Israel denies genocide allegations.

Israel’s three-week-old offensive in Rafah has prompted an outcry from global leaders especially of an airstrike on Sunday that killed at least 45 people when a blaze ignited in a tent camp in a western district.

The local Palestinian health ministry puts the death toll from the war in Gaza at over 36,000. There is also widespread hunger in the narrow coastal enclave and nearly its entire 2.3 million population has been displaced.

Israel says it is acting in self-defense after the militant Palestinian group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Kanishka Singh in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)