Joe Biden: 'Israel’s best Catholic friend' maintains his position

The United Nations' (UN) detractors describe it as a talking shop. Worthy talk, yes, but often talk without action equal to the severity of the situation under debate.

Sunday's special session of the Security Council will do little to ease that reputation.

Three hours of condemnation for the crisis in Israel and Gaza ending with a “hope” of producing a statement acknowledging the loss of life, safety and security.

But even that is not assured. This time it’s not Russia or China putting in the block - but the United States. Israel’s greatest ally is not distancing itself yet.

30 years ago Joe Biden described himself as “Israel’s best Catholic friend” and now, as President Biden, he’s maintaining that position.

But it risks his isolation internationally and domestically.

That Sunday's open session took place at all was the result of extensive pressure on the US, which last week twice blocked a statement after private hearings.

It further blocked a meeting pencilled for last Friday, playing for time, pushing for Tuesday.

Sunday was the compromise.

It is not yet clear whether this latest attempt at a statement will succeed or if it will be vetoed again.

It is a pretty time honoured situation - over the years the US has blocked over 40 UN resolutions which condemned Israeli actions.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo is in Tel Aviv and reports on the latest developments in the crisis

The administration now has an envoy on the ground, though not a particularly senior one, and the indication emerging is there will be no demand for an immediate ceasefire.

What is more, with no ability to speak with Hamas any chance of brokering peace seems destined to fail even if there was the political will.

The president did not want the Middle East to be on his immediate to do list, seeking to focus on domestic issues, but the past days have seen to that and he is facing growing criticism for his lack of action.

He’s hosting a White House Eid celebration on Sunday night which is now being boycotted by a number of Muslim groups.

Meanwhile fellow Democrats are going public with their frustration.

There is talk the UN may convene a special session of the General Assembly later in the week.

What manna from heaven for America’s critics, not least Russia and China, who will seek to make political play from a UN stalemate which for once is not of their doing.

President Biden may not want to dirty his hands with this crisis but every day it goes on, and with every civilian death, the pressure grows and his position becomes more untenable.