MSF calls US veto of Gaza ceasefire resolution “a vote against humanity”
NEW YORK, December 8, 6:06 p.m. ET—The United Nations Security Council today failed to adopt a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza—blocked by a veto from the United States. The Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. This followed a letter from the UN Secretary-General invoking Article 99 to call on the Security Council to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.
The United Nations Security Council must demand an immediate and sustained ceasefire, lifting of the siege, and unrestricted aid to reach the entire Gaza Strip. To date, the inaction of the United Nations Security Council and vetoes from member states, particularly the United States, make them complicit in the ongoing slaughter of civilians. This inaction has given license to the mass killing of men, women, and children caught in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Repeated assurances from Israel and its allies, especially the US, that this war is being waged on combatants alone run counter to what we see on the ground. What we see is a total war that does not spare civilians.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical staff in the Gaza Strip have witnessed and treated the medical consequences of continued and systematic atrocities over the last eight weeks of all-out war. Israel’s campaign of indiscriminate killing, denial of access to food, water, and health care, and repeated forced displacements have made conditions for the more than two million people in Gaza unbearable. People are sleeping on the streets, in the rain, with little to no sanitation or hygiene services. MSF’s teams have seen a significant increase in infectious diseases, including diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections, and outbreaks of hepatitis. Vital humanitarian aid must immediately be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip at a scale sufficient enough to meet the enormous needs.
Since the seven-day truce collapsed on December 1, we have witnessed a resumption of indiscriminate violence and forced displacement at a staggering scale and intensity. Over the past week, from December 1-7, Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza received 1,149 patients in the emergency room, 350 of whom were dead on arrival. On December 6, the hospital received more dead than wounded patients.
“Today the supply of aid is performative: it’s nothing compared with the needs,” said Christopher Lockyear, secretary general of MSF International. “Our colleagues feel helpless when they hear children tell them they would rather die than continue suffering. People are desperate for food because of the cruel siege imposed on them. There needs to be some chance of survival—our doctors can do nothing for the dead. Failure to act now to [demand] a total ceasefire and an end to the siege would be unforgivable.”
MSF teams were forced to leave Nasser Hospital, in the southern city of Khan Younis, on the evening of December 4 due to the intensity of bombardments around the facility. Some Ministry of Health staff also decided to leave, fearing the same extreme violence inflicted on hospitals in northern Gaza. The weekend before leaving Nasser Hospital, our colleagues saw wave after wave of mass casualties admitted. The hospital has received 5,166 wounded patients and 1,468 people pronounced dead on arrival since October 7. Seventy percent of the dead were women and children.
The evacuation orders issued by Israel create panic. People have nowhere to go: They have been bombed in the north, south, and at the Rafah border with Egypt. This cruel system does not spare civilians.
We despair over the intransigence of the Government of Israel and their apparent refusal to even acknowledge the scale of human suffering in Gaza. Temporary truces, humanitarian pauses, and the trickle of aid that has so far been allowed in are insultingly insufficient. The damage that has been done will require years of humanitarian support. But no amount of aid will ever be enough to heal the massive losses and grief.
The way this war is being prosecuted means that a scale-up in humanitarian assistance can only be achieved with a ceasefire.
Today, the United Nations Security Council must demand an immediate and sustained ceasefire and lift the siege on Gaza. This responsibility falls to each member. History will judge the delay in ending this slaughter. Basic humanity demands immediate action.