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U.S. vetoes U.N. condemnation of Israel's Gaza strikes

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution Saturday that would have condemned Israel for its military operations in Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said the resolution, which also called for Israel to cease military operations immediately in the Palestinian territory, was "biased against Israel and politically motivated."

The U.S. veto angered Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad, who called the veto "shameful" and "not the first time" the United States has used a veto "just to protect Israel."

The veto, Hamad said, is to "give Israel covering in order to continue its massacres and killings among our people. It is giving legitimacy to Israel to continue the aggression against our people."

Qatar proposed the motion, which focused on Wednesday's shelling in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun that killed 18 people, mostly women and children. (Watch mourners carry bodies of victims through the streets -- 1:49)

The blocked resolution also condemned Palestinians who fire missiles from Gaza into Israel.

Israel's military said it has been targeting militants in Beit Hanoun who have been firing Qassam rockets into Israel, and blamed a "technical failure" for the misfire that killed the 18 civilians.

The United States cast the only vote against. Four council members abstained and 10 voted for the resolution.

Before the vote, Bolton said the United States joined the other countries in "deeply regretting" the injuries and loss of life in Wednesday's shelling, but said Israel has promised a full investigation.

Bolton said the resolution's text was "unbalanced."

"We are disturbed at the language of the resolution that is in many places biased against Israel and politically motivated," Bolton said. "Such language does not further the cause of peace and its unacceptability to the United States in previous resolutions is well known."

Bolton said the text was wrong in equating what he called Israel's legal defense operations in Gaza with Palestinian acts of terrorism against civilians in Israel.

"We are disturbed that there is not a single reference to terrorism in the proposed resolution, nor any condemnation of the Hamas leadership's statement that Palestinians should resume terror attacks on a broad scale, or calls by the military wing of Hamas to Muslims worldwide to strike American targets and interests," he said.

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A Palestinian man cries during the funeral procession Thursday for 18 civilians killed in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.




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