The U.S. on Friday vetoed a United Nations resolution backed by nearly every other Security Council member and dozens of other countries demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, the AP reported.
Supporters of the resolution called it a terrible day and warned of more civilian deaths and destruction as the war entered its third month.
The vote in the 15-member council passed 13-1, with Britain abstaining. France and Japan were among those who backed the call for a ceasefire, the news agency emphasized.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were in Washington on Friday. But their meeting with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not take place until after the UN vote.
Dmitry Polyansky, Russia's deputy post president to the UN, called the vote "one of the darkest days in the history of the Middle East" and accused the US of passing "a death sentence on thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilians in Palestine and Israel, including women and children."
He said "history will judge Washington's actions" in the face of "Israel's ruthless bloodbath."
The Security Council convened an emergency meeting to hear from Secretary-General António Guterres, who invoked for the first time Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allows the UN chief to raise threats to international peace and security that he sees. He warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Gaza and called on the council to demand a humanitarian ceasefire.
Guterres said he raised the use of Article 99, which has not been used at the UN since 1971, because "there is a high risk of a complete collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza."
"The UN expects this to lead to a complete breakdown of public order and increased pressure due to mass displacement in Egypt," he warned.