Palestine's UN envoy Riyad al-Mansour slammed the UN Security Council's failure to adopt a draft resolution seeking a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza on Friday.
The US vetoed the resolution, which was co-sponsored by nearly 100 UN member states. It received the support of 13 Security Council members. The United Kingdom, whom like the US is a permanent council member with veto power, abstained.
Mansour called the failure "beyond regrettable" and "disastrous."
"Instead of allowing this council to uphold its mandate by finally making a clear call, after two months, that atrocities must end, the war criminals are given more time to perpetuate their crimes. How can this be justified? How can anyone justify the slaughter of an entire people?" he said.
Mansour reiterated his call for a cease-fire, saying "every further day means lives lost, people killed at an unprecedented pace in modern history.”
The draft resolution called for all parties to the conflict to adhere to international law, particularly the protection of civilians, demanded an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report to the council on the cease-fire's implementation.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which introduced the draft, said it worked to expeditiously complete the resolution due to the mounting number of dead over the 63-day war.
Robert Wood, the US representative to the UN, said the Biden administration exercised its veto power because a cease-fire would have allowed Hamas to remain in control of Gaza.
"As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, any cease-fire is at best temporary and is certainly not peace. And any cease-fire that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza will deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves," he said.
"For that reason, although the United States strongly supports a durable peace in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security, we do not support this resolution's call for an unsustainable cease-fire that will only plant the seeds for the next war.”
Over 17,000 people have been killed in Gaza amid relentless Israeli shelling and airstrikes, according to official figures from Gaza authorities. Women and children constitute about 70% of all those who have died, with more than 46,000 others wounded. Roughly 1.8 million Palestinians have been internally displaced.
Israel began its war in retaliation for the Palestinian group Hamas's Oct. 7 cross-border attack in which over 1,200 Israelis have been killed. Roughly 240 other people were taken back to Gaza as hostages.