In a bold political move, the Palestinian Fatah movement has announced a comprehensive strike on Monday in retaliation against the United States' veto of an Arab-backed UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The veto, exercised last Friday, drew international attention as 13 out of 15 Council members supported the resolution, while the United Kingdom abstained.
Fatah circulated statements across Palestinian governorates, endorsing the strike as a global call to stop the aggression in Gaza. The movement also criticized Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas official, for his derogatory remarks against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian security forces.
Escalation of Conflict
Alongside political tensions, Israeli military actions in the West Bank, notably the assassination of fighters in Jenin camp and the killing of two children during a 15-hour attack, fueled the conflict. A Palestinian security source raised concerns over Israel's intentions to occupy the West Bank, akin to the Gaza Strip. In response, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier and injured six at a military checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem before being shot by Israeli forces.
The U.S. Defense
The Biden administration defended its decision to veto the UN resolution, asserting that a ceasefire would allow Hamas to regroup and impede Israel's path to victory. Henry Wooster, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, backed a temporary truce for humanitarian reasons and not a comprehensive ceasefire. He clarified that the U.S. does not dictate Israeli military operations and does not have a stringent timetable to end the war in Gaza.
The U.S. vote at the Security Council drew widespread condemnation, with President Mahmoud Abbas labeling Washington's stance as aggressive and unethical, holding it responsible for the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza. International relief organizations criticized the failure of the ceasefire motion, which would have provided a respite for civilians under relentless bombardment. The United Nations World Food Programme highlighted the severe food shortage in Gaza, with people starving and crowding at aid distribution centers.
On the Ground
Violent confrontations escalated in Gaza, particularly in Jabalia camp in the north and Khan Yunis in the south, where Israeli forces attempted advances. Clashes between Hamas's Qassam Brigades and the Israeli military occurred face to face, with reports of Israeli tanks advancing deep into Khan Yunis.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry emphasized the international community's responsibility to promptly halt Israeli violations of international law to protect civilians in Gaza. The Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit committee, led by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to convey this message and expressed dissatisfaction with the Security Council's inaction on the immediate ceasefire demand.