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G20 Hot Mic Gaffe Exposes Extent Of US Isolation Following Gaza Cease-Fire Veto

23.02.2024 05:12

'This state of inaction results in the loss of innocent lives,' host Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira heard saying after US vetoes UN Security Council cease fire call.

The US found itself increasingly isolated Thursday when a hot mic during an international summit in Brazil exposed searing criticism from close international allies prompted by Washington's refusal to endorse a cease-fire in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The pointed criticisms were made during a closed press meeting of G20 foreign ministers that reporters were able to listen in to via audio headsets after organizers failed to turn them off, according to the Washington Post newspaper.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, who was hosting his counterparts for candid talks, opened the closed-door session by lambasting the "paralysis" within the UN Security Council that has led to a failure to address the situation in Gaza, just one day after the Biden administration vetoed a draft text calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire there.

"This state of inaction results in the loss of innocent lives," Vieira could be heard saying as the death toll in Gaza rapidly nears 30,000, according to the coastal enclave's Health Ministry.

Close US ally Australia warned of the "further devastation" that would result from Israel's vowed offensive on southern Gaza's city of Rafah, where nearly 1.5 million people are seeking shelter, the vast majority of whom fled other parts of Gaza amid bombings and Israeli orders for civilians to evacuate.

"We say again to Israel — do not go down this path," said Australian Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, who was representing Canberra at the meeting, according to the Post. "This would be unjustifiable."

South Africa, which has filed a case with the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide, said the inaction has "allowed impunity to hold sway."

"We have failed the people of Palestine," South African envoy Naledi Pandor said.

She went on to criticize the apparent double standards being employed by the Biden administration in Palestine when compared to Ukraine, where Washington has sought to rally global support against Russia's invasion, in part due to key tenets of the international rules-based order that it says the Kremlin is trouncing upon.

Naledi said that if the international community had rallied behind the principles put forward in the UN Charter, "the tragedy in Palestine will not have lasted over three months."

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas. The ensuing Israeli war has killed more than 29,410 people and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Nearly 70,000 people have been injured.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack while over 200 were taken back to Gaza as hostages.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Hostilities have continued unabated, however, and aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient to address the humanitarian catastrophe. -

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