Israel-Hamas war: UN Security Council adopts resolution on aid to Gaza while US abstains

Israel-Hamas war: UN Security Council adopts resolution on aid to Gaza while US abstains

The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution calling for increased aid to desperate civilians in Gaza and a pause in fighting to deliver that aid safely, ending nearly a week of he intense diplomatic wrangling intended to ensure that the United States would not block aid. measure.

The vote was 13-0, with the United States and Russia abstaining. Faced with the insistence of the United States, this measure did not require an immediate truce. Instead, it called for “urgent and prolonged humanitarian pauses and corridors” of unspecified duration and location, “to enable full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.”

The United States, under pressure from Jerusalem to maintain Israeli aid inspections, delayed several planned votes on the resolution as negotiators tried to find a compromise and avoid imposing the American veto.

“The United States managed to extricate itself from a serious diplomatic mess this week,” said Richard Gowan, director of the U.N. International Crisis Group. “I think many UN members will be unhappy with the very convoluted text that the Council just adopted, but they will also be relieved that the Council can agree to anything.”

It remains unclear how the resolution would affect the current fighting in Gaza, where health officials say about 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground operations, or whether its demands for increased deliveries humanitarian aid through all available routes could be implemented. The resolution also calls for the immediate release of all hostages taken during the attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel on October 7.

Security Council resolutions are legally binding on member states, but their implementation, which requires consensus, can be difficult.

“We know it’s not a perfect text,” said Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE ambassador, who led the negotiations. “We know that only a ceasefire will end the suffering. »

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaking to Palestinian U.N. Representative Riyad Mansour on Friday.Credit…Charly Triballeau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Before the final vote, Russia proposed an amendment that would partially reverse an earlier draft resolution, including a request for a suspension of hostilities, but the United States vetoed the change.

A major sticking point was whether Israel would continue to inspect all aid shipments, which U.N. officials said had delayed the delivery of food, fuel, medicine and other aids. Israel, however, has fought to maintain its control over aid to Gaza.

“Just as this Council is committed to increasing aid, it should also be committed to blocking the smuggling and transfer of weapons to Hamas terrorists,” said Jonathan Miller, Israel’s deputy ambassador to Israel. ‘UN.

The first step of the resolution is for the UN secretary-general to appoint a special coordinator to “facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify” that aid entering Gaza is of a humanitarian nature, who must “consult all relevant parties “.

The coordinator will be responsible for negotiating with all parties to streamline the delivery of aid and will be required to present a progress report to the Council in 20 days.

Although she abstained, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the resolution “testifies to the severity of the crisis and calls on all of us to do more.” She added that the Council “must continue to support the resumption of humanitarian pauses”.

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield did not explain the American abstention but said she was deeply disappointed that the resolution did not condemn the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said US efforts to change the text as it wished were “cynical and shameful” and “non-transparent”. He said the resolution had been diluted to the point that it gave “a green light to Israeli forces to commit war crimes.” The only reason Russia did not veto the resolution, he explained, was because it had the support of Arab states.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said he hoped the resolution would “make people understand that a humanitarian ceasefire is indeed necessary if we want humanitarian assistance to be effective.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations, delivered a moving speech to the Council in which he told the story of a little girl who lost her parents, then died days later in a strike against a hospital. He accused Israel of disproportionate attacks on Gaza.

“This resolution is a step in the right direction,” Mr. Mansour said. “It must be implemented and accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate ceasefire. »

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Eric D. Eilerman

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