The situation in Gaza continues to worsen as the Security Council dismisses opposing resolutions put forth by the United States and Russia.
The proposed resolution, led by the US, was unsuccessful in passing due to opposing votes from permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia.
Ten members of the Council approved the proposed resolution, while three voted against it (China, Russia, and UAE). Two members (Brazil and Mozambique) chose to abstain.
If any of the five permanent members of the Council casts a negative vote, it prevents any further action on the proposed measure. The permanent members of the Council include China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The second version of the resolution, spearheaded by Russia, was not approved because it did not receive enough votes in favor.
Four members of the Council voted for it (China, Gabon, Russia, and UAE), two voted against (UK and US), and nine chose not to vote (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland).
In order for a resolution to be passed, it requires the backing of at least nine Council members.
The proposed texts
The resolutions, which were worded similarly, would have proposed a “humanitarian ceasefire” or “humanitarian pause” in order to facilitate the safe delivery of aid to civilians in need.
The drafts expressed disapproval of Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians on October 7 and called for action to alleviate the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. According to UN agencies present in the area, hospitals and essential services will run out of fuel in a matter of hours.
Some notable distinctions in the text were a particular acknowledgement in the US-supported suggestion of the inherent right of States to protect themselves, and a demand in the Russian-led proposal for the prompt revocation by Israeli forces of the directive for civilians to move into southern Gaza.
Resolutions in draft form are not considered the official stance of the 15-member Security Council until they are approved.
Several Council members shared their stances prior to the voting.
The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated that the positive outcomes of diplomatic efforts have become evident in recent days as humanitarian assistance has started to reach Gaza. She also emphasized the US’s ongoing commitment to this effort, as demonstrated by the draft resolution.
She expressed gratitude towards Qatar and Egypt for their efforts in facilitating the release of four hostages by Hamas. However, there are still over 200 hostages who have not yet been freed. She shared how parents of these hostages are constantly anxious about the possibility of reuniting with their children, citing her recent meeting with a family of one of the hostages on Tuesday.
This is a critical moment for everyone involved – the international community and the Council. During the creation of the resolution, we actively listened and collaborated with humanitarian agencies. The draft includes provisions for deconfliction mechanisms to safeguard both civilians and UN personnel.
According to her, Russia proposed a text without any consultations.
In summary, the speaker stated that Russia’s resolution is insincere and urged for backing of the US draft. The draft denounces Hamas’ brutal attacks, affirms Member States’ right to self-defense, and urges parties to abide by international humanitarian law.
It also requests for temporary breaks in the fighting and states that countries must implement definite measures to stop the escalation of the conflict.
She encouraged all Council members to support the US draft and strive for a future where Israel and Palestine, two democratic states, peacefully coexist.
Unfortunately, for the past two weeks since the crisis began, the United Nations Security Council has been unable to send a unified message to reduce tensions, according to Vassily Nebenzya, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN.
He stated that the violence is still happening and that thousands of innocent people have been killed, with millions being forced to leave their homes. He called for a serious consideration of the alarming statistics.
He remembered the previous suggestion from Russia, a neutral resolution requesting for a temporary pause in fighting for humanitarian purposes, but unfortunately, it did not receive enough support from Council members.
He stated that the desire to prevent a humanitarian crisis was overshadowed by nationalistic and self-centered ideologies and political agendas. He also mentioned the US’s use of veto power to reject the resolution led by Brazil last week.
He stated that he did not see a reason to back the US-proposed draft, as it only served the geopolitical interests of one of the members of the Security Council.
In his final remarks, Mr. Nebenzya urged Council members to back the Russia-led proposal, emphasizing that this was the Council’s final opportunity to fulfill its important responsibilities. He implored them not to let it pass by.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield from the United States expressed profound disappointment in the rejection of the resolution proposed by the US due to vetoes from China and Russia.
She stated that the United States is prepared to collaborate with all Member States in aiding the initiatives of the United Nations Secretary-General, President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Ambassador Nebenzia expressed disappointment following the failure of the Russian resolution, stating that the Council had yet again neglected to address the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
The Russian draft was not in line with the current situation on the ground, according to US Representative Robert Wood, and therefore his delegation could not provide support for it.
He stated that we should prioritize the region and the world above everything else.
The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Jun, stated that their veto of the US resolution was justified by the facts, laws, conscience, and justice.
In discussions, he stated that the US text was significantly imbalanced, hastily introduced, and lacking the strongest demands for a complete ceasefire.
He stated that China was strongly supportive of taking action, but criticized the US document for not being direct enough about resolving the conflict.
He stated that ceasefire is not just a diplomatic phrase, but a crucial matter of survival for numerous civilians.
The Ambassador emphasized that China is not apathetic to the suffering of Gazans and it would be irresponsible to be unclear about the topic of war and peace.
He stated that his country will support the Russian text because the US version did not acknowledge the underlying issues contributing to the ongoing crisis in Gaza, such as Israel’s blockade and the evacuation order for civilians to relocate south.
He stated that if the US effort is implemented, it would entirely eliminate the potential for a lasting two-State solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The US proposal, as stated by UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward, would have allowed the Council to condemn Hamas’ acts of terrorism. However, Russia’s draft did not acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself.
She stated that our dedication is to collaborate with the Council in creating a fair and impartial written document. This should involve denouncing Hamas, acknowledging Israel’s right to defend itself, safeguarding civilians, and increasing the amount of aid going into Gaza.
United Arab Emirates
The Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, stated that the stakes are very high and the Council needs to take action.
She stated that we are aware of the most urgent humanitarian requirements. These include a ceasefire for humanitarian purposes, freeing all hostages, granting humanitarian access, providing fuel and water, and following international humanitarian law.
The Israeli Ambassador, Gilad Erdin, expressed that his nation is still being targeted from both the north and south, and inquired how Council members would react if they were in this situation.
“He expressed that one would sense a clear double standard and that the Council is not fulfilling even the most fundamental responsibilities that anyone with a hint of moral integrity should take. This is exactly how the State of Israel currently feels.”
According to him, Israel has the right to defend itself. He also stated that Hamas bears complete responsibility for the situation of Palestinians in Gaza and is committing acts that violate human rights.
“After the atrocities of the Holocaust, we made a collective vow to never let such a tragedy happen again,” he stated. “This was a key motivation for the establishment of the UN. Dear colleagues, the time for ‘never again’ is now. Let us not forget this.”
On the Monday before last, a resolution proposed by Russia that called for an urgent ceasefire to address humanitarian concerns, was rejected. The following Wednesday, the United States vetoed a resolution led by Brazil that urged temporary pauses in fighting to allow aid to reach the millions of people in the Gaza Strip.
The Security Council of the United Nations conducted a public discussion on the current crisis on Tuesday, leading to over 80 nations delivering speeches in the assembly regarding the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine. This conflict has the potential to disrupt not only the region, but also extend beyond its borders.
Source: United Nations News