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China says US is giving ‘green light to slaughter’ in Gaza

Zhang Jun, China's UN ambassador, speaks to delegates during a United Nations Security Council vote
Zhang Jun, China's UN ambassador, speaks to delegates during a United Nations security council vote - EDUARDO MUNOZ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

China has accused the US of giving a green light to “slaughter” after it vetoed a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza at the UN security council.

The resolution put forward by Algeria was vetoed by the US on Tuesday which argued it was not the “right time for a general ceasefire that leaves Hamas in control”.

In a strongly-worded response to the move, Zhang Jun, China’s UN ambassador, said: “Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance of an immediate ceasefire is nothing different from giving a green light to the continued slaughter.”

The comments represent the harshest criticism yet from China of US policy in Gaza.

Washington called the Algerian resolution, which does not link a ceasefire to the release of hostages, “wishful and irresponsible”.

Algeria called for an immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza at the UN security council
Algeria called for an immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza at the UN security council, but the US vetoed the resolution - MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

However, Mr Zhang said: “The spillover of the conflict is destabilising the entire Middle East region, leading to rising risk of a wider war. Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza can we prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region.”

The US is preparing its own resolution to be brought before the Security Council which calls for a temporary ceasefire “as soon as practicable,” as well as lifting of restrictions on humanitarian aid and the unconditional release of all hostages.

The Biden administration has argued that it is vital to give the ongoing ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas a chance, despite both parties refusing to compromise.

Israel has come under intense pressure from its allies to cancel its planned military operation in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, where some 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering.

Prince William calls for ceasefire

Prince William joined the calls for a ceasefire in Gaza on Tuesday, arguing that “too many” have been killed in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Eylon Levy, the Israeli government’s spokesman, responded to Prince William’s comments saying: “Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the October 7 atrocities is dismantled.

“We appreciate the Prince of Wales’ call for Hamas to free the hostages. We also recall with gratitude his statement from October 11 condemning Hamas’ terror attacks and reaffirming Israel’s right of self-defence against them.”

While the UK abstained from the security council vote on Algeria’s resolution, Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, has backed a lasting, permanent ceasefire which “must happen now”, he said.

Israel is refusing to accept a permanent ceasefire with Benjamin Netanyahu hellbent on achieving his goal of “total victory”, namely the complete destruction of Hamas and the release of all hostages.

Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, echoed Mr Netanyahu on Wednesday, saying: “Our goal is simple – victory. Only victory against Hamas will allow us to achieve normalisation and regional integration.”

Hamas, meanwhile, also refuses to compromise on its demands as part of a ceasefire deal which includes the full withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Gaza and rehabilitation of the enclave.

Relatives of hostages in Israel have taken to the streets in recent weeks, with many accusing the government of abandoning its citizens in Gaza.