UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution Saturday that sought to condemn an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and demand Israeli troops pull out of the territory.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the Arab-backed draft resolution was “biased against Israel and politically motivated.”

“This resolution does not display an evenhanded characterization of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace to which we aspire and for which we are working assiduously,” he told the Security Council.

The draft received 10 votes in favor and four abstentions, along with the U.S. vote against. Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia all abstained.

It was the second U.S. veto this year of a Security Council draft resolution concerning Israeli military operations in Gaza. The U.S. blocked action on a document this summer after Israel launched its offensive in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked Palestinian militants.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the draft resolution was one-sided. “It’s good that it wasn’t accepted by the Security Council,” he said.

The Palestinians’ Hamas-led government, however, was furious at the U.S. veto.

“This decision by the U.S. government gives unlimited cover to commit more massacres of innocent Palestinians,” spokesman Ghazi Hamad said. “This is a shame on the American administration, which says it is trying to promote human rights and democracy in the Middle East.”

More criticism came in from elsewhere in the Middle East. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the veto “will only increase the anger” toward Israel, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit accused the Security Council of “turning a blind eye to Israeli acts in Gaza.”


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