The current situation in Israel and Palestine has led to a crisis. The Security Council is urging for immediate and prolonged humanitarian breaks in Gaza.
At 5:00 PM, the initial session of the UN Security Council addressing the complex crisis and turmoil surrounding the Gaza Strip concluded. Here is a recap of what took place in New York this afternoon.
The UN Security Council has achieved consensus by passing resolution 2712 regarding the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict that began on October 7th. The resolution received support from 12 members, with no votes against and three abstentions (Russia, United Kingdom, United States). The resolution calls for immediate and prolonged humanitarian pauses and corridors in Gaza for an adequate number of days to ensure unimpeded and secure access for UN agencies and partners.
The resolution demands the swift and unconditional release of all hostages, including children, held by Hamas and other groups. It also stresses the importance of providing immediate humanitarian access.
The Council is urging all parties involved to avoid denying the people of Gaza access to essential services and aid necessary for their survival, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The proposed amendment by Russia was rejected by the Council, with five votes in favor, one vote against, and nine abstentions.
The ambassador of Malta, who led the drafting of the recently passed resolution, stated that our vote today has a direct impact on the lives of real people.
Representatives from both the United Kingdom and the United States expressed their disappointment in the fact that the draft did not denounce Hamas and expressed their support for measures to protect civilians and ensure swift delivery of aid.
The Russian ambassador stated that an actual cessation of hostilities is necessary, and the Council will have to decide on subsequent actions, such as determining which observers to deploy to the conflict zone and which UN forces will be involved.
Palestine’s representative to the United Nations stated that this chaos must be stopped and emphasized the need for peace.
The Israeli Ambassador suggested that the crisis could be resolved quickly if all of the Israeli hostages are safely returned and if Hamas surrenders their weapons and turns themselves over.
To read summaries of this and other United Nations meetings, please visit our colleagues at UN Meetings Coverage, which is accessible in both English and French.
Resolution ‘detached from reality’: Israel
Brett Jonathan Miller, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel, delivered the final remarks at the meeting.
He stated that the resolution did not reflect the current situation and that it would not be effective in addressing Hamas and other terrorist groups.
He pointed out that the Council has convened approximately 10 times within the past six weeks following Hamas’s “inhumane attack” on Israel, which has yet to be denounced by the foremost organization for promoting peace and security worldwide.
“The resolution specifically addresses the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and does not acknowledge the events that led to it,” he stated. “It gives the impression that the current situation in Gaza occurred spontaneously.”
He stated that Israel’s main focus is to bring the hostages back, “and since terrorists do not adhere to Security Council resolutions, Israel will persist in doing whatever is necessary to achieve this objective.”
According to Mr. Miller, the war could come to an immediate end if Hamas decides to surrender, surrender their weapons, and release the hostages unharmed.
This chaos needs to come to a halt: Palestine
Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, argued that the Security Council should have already enacted a ceasefire and acknowledged that a military resolution is not feasible.
According to Mr. Mansour, the Council should have listened to the UN and other global humanitarian organizations and implemented a humanitarian ceasefire. He believes that the Council should have also supported the General Assembly’s plea for a prompt, lasting, and continuous truce to stop the fighting.
He stated that the current situation will have lasting consequences that should not be underestimated.
He stated that it is a tremendous failure of mankind, but the current priority is to preserve lives. The key actions to achieve this are to halt violence and displacement, allow humanitarian assistance, ensure access for humanitarian aid, and safeguard civilians and their infrastructure.
According to him, Israel’s strategy has been disclosed through public statements, leaked documents, and opinion articles.
“We cannot ignore the messages of this government,” he stated. “Their agenda is to further dispossess, displace, and deny the rights of the Palestinian people, leading to the completion of the Nakba.”
He stated that recognizing the plan is the initial step towards defeating it.
He stated, “This insanity needs to come to a halt. It is now the moment for tranquility.”
China calls for the translation of resolutions into concrete actions, adhering strictly to their directives.
Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun, currently presiding over the Council in November, expressed his belief that the Council should have passed a stronger resolution sooner. Even though one member prevented reaching a consensus, he emphasized the importance of the new resolution.
He reminded Israel to stop attacking civilian facilities, like hospitals, and to provide necessary resources, such as water and fuel, in Gaza, which is currently under siege.
He stated that the success of the resolution depends on strictly adhering to its implementation and provisions.
Russia has stated that a pause is not a substitute for a ceasefire.
The Russian Ambassador Nebenzia emphasized the importance of providing aid and humanitarian aid to Gaza, particularly due to the worsening conditions on the ground. This includes a shortage of fuel and Israeli military actions targeting schools and Al-Shifa Hospital.
He stated that humanitarian pauses cannot take the place of a ceasefire or truce. He also mentioned that the US has consistently hindered attempts to stop hostilities, causing the main UN body responsible for maintaining peace and security to be unable to function properly.
Expressing disappointment over the weakening of the resolution due to pressure from Washington, Mr. Nebenzia stated that it is shameful that the Council has produced such a feeble request.
Worried about the practical impact of the resolution, he questioned who would oversee the safety of designated pathways and the protection of civilians on the field.
The Russian Ambassador stated that the Council must decide on next actions, such as selecting observers and determining the involvement of a UN contingent, in regards to the conflict area. Additionally, they emphasized that the matter cannot be ignored or neglected.
There are still underlying issues that need to be resolved in Mozambique.
The Deputy Ambassador of Mozambique, Domingos Fernandes, firmly believes that the resolution is a crucial move towards alleviating the hardships faced by civilians in Gaza.
“Nevertheless, we acknowledge that this resolution fails to tackle the root issues of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” he stated.
He restated his country’s stance that peace and dialogue are the only way for Israel and Palestine to resolve their conflicts.
We strongly believe that the people of Israel and Palestine should and can peacefully coexist and live together in security, while strictly adhering to the decisions and resolutions of the Security Council.
The resolution in the UK is expected to result in saving lives.
Barbara Woodward, the UK’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative, stated that a significant number of children are dying and it is appropriate for the Council to request a temporary halt in order to provide life-saving assistance to those in need.
She declared, “This will preserve lives. We require a united effort to obtain assistance.”
Despite regretting the fact that the resolution did not denounce the Hamas attacks on October 7, Ms. Woodward’s delegation chose to abstain from voting.
“We will collaborate with Council members to find a solution to this crisis and strive towards achieving a two-State solution,” she stated.
The failure to condemn the attacks by Hamas has left the US deeply disturbed.
The United States’ Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressed gratitude towards Malta and other members of the Council for spearheading the initiative.
Although she stated that her country was unable to vote in favor of a text that did not denounce Hamas or reassert the right of all Member States to defend their citizens against acts of terrorism.
She was shocked that some Council Members were unable to denounce the brutal Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th.
According to her, although this text does not explicitly denounce Hamas, it is significant that we have passed a resolution that acknowledges the existence of Hamas for the first time.
Ms. Thomas-Greenfield stated that the United States is putting in constant effort to make arrangements for the secure release of all captives, which includes nine unaccounted for Americans and one American citizen.
The Malta resolution was put to a vote by the Security Council, with 12 members supporting it, none opposing it, and three countries choosing to abstain: Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The decision has been approved.
The conflict in Gaza has been ongoing for a month with no intervention from the Council, according to the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates. Lana Zaki Nusseibeh urged her fellow diplomats to support the Maltese resolution in order to alleviate the immense suffering on the ground.
She stated that this is the absolute minimum required for humanitarians to effectively save a large number of lives.
The ambassador of Malta is currently addressing the vote for her country’s resolution. Vanessa Frazier stated that the situation is worsening with an increasing number of fatalities. The lives of infants at Al-Shifa Hospital are currently at risk, and over one million people are forced to leave their homes in Gaza, with more than half of them being children.
According to the speaker, her delegation conducted extensive discussions in order to create a practical document. The current version proposes for temporary ceasefires and the freeing of captives held by Hamas and other organizations.
She emphasized the importance of Council members casting a positive vote, stating that their decision would directly impact real people.
The Russian amendment is currently being voted on by members. The outcome showed five votes in favor, one against, and nine abstentions. The US voted against the amendment. Unfortunately, it did not pass due to not receiving enough votes.
Before the vote on Malta’s resolution, Russia has requested to speak. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has proposed an oral change, calling for “a prompt, lasting, and continuous humanitarian pause resulting in an end to fighting”.
According to him, the phrasing mirrored the opening paragraph of the recent General Assembly resolution, which was passed with a large majority. He stated that the primary goal should be achieving a ceasefire and putting an end to the violence.
He claimed that the United States deliberately removed any mention of a ceasefire goal during talks. He further stated that this should be the minimum requirement that the Council must agree upon.
As per usual protocol, nations that are not members of the Council but are directly involved have been extended invitations for their representatives from Israel and Palestine to speak when their turn arrives.
After a long wait, the Council Chamber falls silent for a few tense minutes, interrupted only by nervous laughter as papers are organized. The meeting is about to start.
This month, China is in charge of the Council and Ambassador Zhang Jun will soon start the emergency meeting by using a gavel. The staff from the 15 permanent missions will take their positions behind their ambassadors, who are seated around the iconic horseshoe-shaped table.
This marks the fifth effort to reach a consensus on the ongoing conflict. The Council has dismissed four previous drafts due to disagreements regarding the inclusion of a ceasefire and explicit condemnation of Hamas’ attacks. The ground campaign led by Israel has escalated, resulting in over 11,000 Palestinian casualties, as reported by the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
The new proposal requests, among other things, the prompt freeing of all captives held by Hamas, the governing group in the Gaza Strip. It also calls for urgent and prolonged breaks in fighting and designated routes throughout the blockaded area to permit aid workers to reach those in need.
It requires all parties to adhere to international law, specifically regarding the safety of civilians.
In order to be approved, a resolution requires nine votes in support and cannot be vetoed by any of its permanent members, namely China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.
In late October, the United States used its veto, causing the UN General Assembly to hold its tenth emergency special session to address the crisis. On October 26th, a resolution was passed during the session, urging for a humanitarian ceasefire and protection of civilians.
The Council will once again discuss a joint response to the crisis on Wednesday.
Check out our past articles following efforts to achieve unity.
Check out our coverage of the Security Council’s most recent public meeting on November 10th regarding the worsening crisis. Here are a few important takeaways:
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appealed for a halt in fighting to protect lives and facilitate the timely distribution of crucial assistance. He emphasized that nowhere and no one in Gaza is immune to the violence, and highlighted the challenges faced by medical personnel in providing care for the increasing number of people in need without the necessary resources.
Marwan Jilani, the Director General of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, expressed concern about the targeting of Gaza’s healthcare system. He urged the Council to take action to put an end to the violence, uphold international humanitarian law, and establish secure routes for delivering aid.
At the start of the meeting, all individuals in the Council Chamber stood for a moment of silence to honor those who perished in Israel as a result of the attacks on October 7th, as well as the Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives during the conflict.