The US vetoed a draft resolution supported by Arab states for the UN Security Council to condemn the killings of 18 Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip by Israeli Defence Forces.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the US was "compelled" to reject the resolution because it "used the tragic incident in Beit Hanoun to advance a one-sided political agenda".
US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton cast a no vote, which amounts to a veto, when the 15-nation Security Council voted on the Arab text Saturday. Ten council members voted in favour while four - Britain, Denmark, Japan and the Slovak Republic - abstained.
The US veto killed the draft resolution, which was presented earlier this week by Qatar, the only Arab nation on the Security Council, on behalf of Arab countries.
The text demanded an immediate withdrawal of Israeli Defence Forces from Gaza and an end of "aggression" by Israel, which was labelled the "occupying power".
French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere disagreed with the US veto, arguing that the text was fair.
The adoption of the resolution "would have sent the right message to both parties," de la Sabliere said.