NEW YORK CITY: The United Nations Security Council will vote Monday on a new resolution calling for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities” in Gaza, as Washington exhibits growing impatience with key ally Israel.
The vote comes days after the United States blocked a previous Security Council resolution that would have called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the battered Palestinian territory, where Israel continues its deadly strikes in retaliation for Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7.
But in the General Assembly, the UN’s 193 members voted overwhelmingly for a ceasefire, with 153 in favor — exceeding the 140 or so countries that have routinely backed resolutions condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The upcoming Security Council resolution was introduced by Arab countries that had come away from last Tuesday’s General Assembly vote bolstered by such broad international support, though the latest text’s fate remains uncertain.
The new draft, drawn up by the United Arab Emirates and seen by AFP, calls for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip.”
It also affirms support for a two-state solution in the region and “stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”
In a move criticized by Israel and the United States, the draft does not explicitly name Hamas, though it does call for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and condemns “all indiscriminate attacks against civilians.”
The Security Council has faced sharp international opprobrium as it has managed to pass only one resolution on Gaza since the start of the war, in which the 15-member body called for “humanitarian pauses” — after five other resolutions were rejected, including two thanks to American vetoes.
According to diplomatic sources, negotiations on the new text continued Sunday in an effort to avoid another impasse, days after US President Joe Biden warned that Israel was at risk of losing international support due to its “indiscriminate” bombing of Gaza.
“The United States should now back those words by acting at the United Nations Security Council to pressure Israel, as well as Palestinian armed groups, to comply with international humanitarian law and protect civilians,” Louis Charbonneau, the UN director at Human Rights Watch said, telling Washington: “Don’t use vetoes to block resolutions aimed at stopping mass atrocities.”
Security Council resolutions are technically binding, but are often ignored by the countries involved.
According to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, some 18,800 people, mostly civilians and children, have died since Israeli bombardment began in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’s October 7 attack, which Israel said left 1,139 people dead, also mostly civilians, and saw some 250 people kidnapped.
“In the face of such atrocities, there is only one moral position, one defensible position: Ceasefire now, ceasefire now, ceasefire now,” Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Friday.
But his Israel counterpart Gilad Erdan countered: “Calling for a ceasefire now, while (hostages) are still being held, is the most immoral thing to do.” Reuters
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