The U.N. Security Council passed a revised resolution on Friday, emphasizing the need for urgent aid to Gaza while omitting the original call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. The 13-0 vote, with the U.S. and Russia abstaining, followed a series of delays and diplomatic efforts.
“This was the Christmas miracle we were all hoping for,” remarked UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the resolution’s sponsor. She stressed its signal to Gaza that the Security Council was actively addressing the humanitarian crisis.
After a prolonged diplomatic process involving the U.S., the UAE, and others, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed relief, stating the vote supports efforts to address the crisis, provide assistance, and work towards lasting peace.
However, the resolution faced criticism from Russia, which considered it “entirely toothless.” The U.S. vetoed a Russian amendment that aimed to reinstate the call for an immediate suspension of hostilities. Russia’s Ambassador accused the U.S. of “shameful, cynical, and irresponsible conduct.”
The resolution’s crucial provision calling for the “urgent suspension of hostilities” was removed, replaced by a call for “urgent steps” to ensure humanitarian access and create conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities. Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. envoy, saw it as a positive step but emphasized the need for immediate implementation and a ceasefire.
Hamas deemed the resolution insufficient, criticizing the U.S. for hindering the council from demanding a halt to the conflict. Israel, represented by U.N. Deputy Ambassador Brett Jonathan Miller, criticized the Council for not condemning Hamas for the October 7 attacks.
The resolution, addressing aid deliveries, removed a request for exclusive U.N. monitoring and instead called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a coordinator for relief deliveries, emphasizing cooperation from Israel and Hamas.
Israel expressed willingness to increase aid, but Miller highlighted challenges with U.N. aid monitoring, emphasizing the importance of Israel’s security inspections. Guterres countered, stating that Israel’s offensive hindered aid distribution in Gaza.
Guterres reiterated the call for a humanitarian ceasefire, emphasizing the dire situation in Gaza and the risk of a complete breakdown of public order.
With over 20,000 Palestinians killed since the conflict began, the resolution reiterated the Security Council’s commitment to a two-state solution and the unification of Gaza and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.
Despite being legally binding, Security Council resolutions may face non-compliance. The latest resolution followed previous actions, including an abstained vote on humanitarian pauses and a U.S. veto on resolutions condemning violence and urging a ceasefire. The General Assembly also approved a similar resolution.
The situation in Gaza remains precarious, with the hope that the latest resolution will contribute to alleviating the crisis and fostering a path towards peace.