The Security Council convenes to discuss US veto on Gaza issue at the General Assembly.
Cheikh Niang, the Vice President of the Assembly from Senegal, presided over the General Assembly Hall and read a statement on behalf of President Dennis Francis.
Mr. Francis expressed his approval of the passing of Security Council resolution 2720 in the previous month. The resolution urged for the provision of secure and unrestricted access for humanitarian aid and for the establishment of a lasting ceasefire.
He called on all conflicting groups in Gaza to completely adhere to the Council resolution and the Assembly resolution from December 12th, which demanded a ceasefire. This was a result of the reconvened Emergency Special Session of the Assembly.
Mr. Francis emphasized the importance of safeguarding civilians and called on all Member States to prioritize this objective during the current discussion.
Discussion sparked by a decision made by the Assembly.
The General Assembly passed a resolution aimed at promoting more collaboration with the Security Council following Russia’s complete invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
The resolution mandates that whenever the veto is employed in the Security Council, it initiates a gathering and discussion in the General Assembly, to examine and talk about the decision.
The veto is a unique voting privilege held by the permanent member nations of the Council. If any of the five countries – China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US – casts a negative vote, the resolution or decision will not pass.
The resolution passed by the Assembly includes increased examination and requires the Assembly President to arrange a formal discussion within 10 business days, giving all 193 members of the larger group an opportunity to express their opinions.
The purpose of this is to allow UN Member States the opportunity to suggest actions, such as deploying military force, to uphold or reestablish peace and security on the field.
Like other Assembly resolutions, they hold moral and political significance but are not legally binding and typically do not have the same impact as measures approved by the Security Council.
The meeting on Tuesday followed the US vetoing a Russian amendment that occurred before the Council successfully passed a resolution on Gaza last month.
You can view the entire Tuesday morning session in New York in the video below.
The United States is dedicated to ensuring the safe return of all hostages.
Robert Wood, the US’s Deputy Permanent Representative, expressed approval for the passing of the Security Council resolution on December 22nd.
Even though the US did not participate, he stated that they had collaborated closely with other important countries to create a powerful resolution in good faith. He added that this effort aligns with the US’s direct diplomatic actions to increase humanitarian aid in Gaza and facilitate the release of hostages.
He did not mention the specific country that proposed the amendment that led to the US veto. Instead, he stated that a certain Member State continues to propose ideas that are not relevant to the current situation.
He expressed concern that numerous states have stopped addressing the situation of hostages currently being held in Gaza by Palestinian militants, stating it was “deeply troubling.”
He stated that the United States is dedicated to bringing all of them back and is actively working to achieve another ceasefire in the ongoing conflict. He also noted that there is no requirement for Hamas to give up their weapons and surrender.
He expressed the need for a powerful global influence to urge the leaders of Hamas to take the necessary actions to resolve the conflict that they initiated on October 7th.
Palestinians are enduring a conflict filled with acts of extreme cruelty.
Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, stated that he was speaking on behalf of a population that is currently facing devastating violence, with entire families being targeted and killed, individuals being shot in public, and thousands of people being abducted, tortured, and dehumanized. Children are also among the victims, being killed, maimed, orphaned, and left with emotional and physical scars that will last a lifetime.
He stated that no individuals should have to experience such brutality and it needs to come to an end.
He stated that despite 153 countries in the General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General calling for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire, the Security Council is still unable to do so.
He stated that Israel’s attack is unparalleled in recent history, describing it as a “war of atrocities.”
He inquired about the possibility of balancing the rejection of terrible acts with rejecting a request to stop the war that is causing them.
The country of Palestine has been in favor of a suggestion put forth by France and Mexico to “pause” the veto power in situations of widespread atrocities, specifically in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, and large-scale war crimes.
The speaker expressed the importance of the proposal by stating that the attack on Palestinians in Gaza highlights its significance. He believes that advocating for an immediate ceasefire is the only ethical, valid, and accountable stance to take.
In the past 90 days, the speaker informed the Assembly that there have been 11 Palestinian fatalities per hour, including seven women and children.
Mr. Mansour stated that this is not primarily concerned with Israeli security, but rather with the destruction of Palestine. He believes that the goals and motives of the current Israeli government, which is extreme in its views, are evident and do not align with those of any nation that upholds international law and strives for peace.
He stated that security cannot be achieved by causing harm and dehumanizing Palestinians.
“I am declaring that Palestine is a permanent presence. Do not advocate for peace while causing chaos. If peace is truly desired, a ceasefire must be initiated first.”
slams UN Human Rights Council
The UN Human Rights Council is criticized by Israel for its biased and hypocritical actions, lacking any moral values.
The Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, questioned the calls for a ceasefire while 136 individuals, including an infant about to turn one year old, are still being held captive.
He expressed concern about the moral decline of this organization and questioned why there was not a strong push for his removal and holding Hamas responsible for their atrocious acts of war.
He stated that even though the UN is morally compromised, the people of Israel remain steadfast and resolute in their faith and determination to protect themselves.
He stated that the United Nations had become an “accomplice to terrorists” and therefore no longer had a valid reason for existence.
Instead of concentrating on the return of hostages and their hardships, the UN has solely fixated on the welfare of those in Gaza, including those responsible for placing Hamas in authority and backing their violent actions, according to the speaker.
“He accused you of disregarding all Israeli victims,” he stated.
He inquired about using the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide as a weapon against the Jewish State, despite Hamas’ desire to repeat the Holocaust.
He stated that there are no ethical principles present, just prejudice and insincerity. Requesting a halt to hostilities is essentially endorsing Hamas’ ongoing reign of violence.
He stated that the Assembly’s call for a ceasefire is a strong statement to terrorists globally. He also added that the UN is conveying the message that using rape as a weapon of war is acceptable to terrorists.
Russia accuses the US of being responsible for weak resolutions.
Anna Evstigneeva, the Deputy Permanent Representative for Russia, accused Washington of engaging in a deceitful tactic to defend Israel’s actions in Gaza by wielding its veto power in the Security Council on December 22nd.
She stated that the US had granted Israel permission to continue killing Palestinians through the use of blackmail and coercion, essentially condoning the ongoing violence against the people of Gaza. This is the reason why they proposed their amendment.
According to her, the true purpose of the US veto was to advance its agenda of granting Israel unrestricted control, and intentionally disrupt international efforts led by the UN in order to further its own political goals in the Middle East.
According to Ms. Evstigneeva, the unfortunate consequence of the recent escalation in Gaza is that the Council has been unable to pass effective resolutions in the last three months.
Instead of voting against them, Russia chose to abstain from both documents because they were requested to do so by the Palestinian and Arab representatives.
According to her, a complete ceasefire is essential and the Security Council has made this demand clear.
Not having it would make it impossible to carry out the Council’s decisions in Gaza.
She stated that the ongoing cycle of violence is extremely destructive and will persist until the underlying issues of the conflict are adequately resolved, which can be achieved through a two-state resolution.
In our current situation, our mutual objective is to aid the involved parties in initiating the negotiation procedure. The achievement of a “joint diplomatic mechanism” is necessary, and a crucial task is the reunification of the Palestinian people, according to her statement.