US blocks UN Security Council call for Gaza cease-fire as unbalanced against Israel

The United States has blocked a U.N. Security Council call for an immediate cease-fire in Israel's weeklong offensive in Gaza against Hamas.

"The draft press statement failed to address the root cause of the current escalation — the continuing barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel," the spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., Erin Pelton, said in a statement.

"We made clear that we would measure any action by the Security Council based on whether it supported the ongoing diplomacy toward de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm," Pelton said. "By failing to call for the immediate and permanent halt to rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, this press statement failed to contribute constructively to those goals. As such, we could not agree to this statement, which was counter-productive and unacceptable."

Security Council press statements require unanimous approval. The draft press statement was circulated by Morocco.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Monday that the United States was "filibustering" the council.

There was also no sign of a meeting Tuesday on a Russian draft resolution calling for a cease-fire and halt to violence; expressing support for international and regional mediation efforts and urging the Palestinians and Israelis to resume overall Mideast peace talks.

The Russia draft resolution also lacks any explicit reference to the Hamas rocket attacks leading up to the Israeli air strikes last week.