Breaking a deadlock, the UN Security Council adopted a Malta-drafted resolution urging humanitarian pauses and corridors in Gaza. The 15-nation Council adopted a resolution with 12 votes in favour and abstentions from Russia, the UK, and the US.
The UNSC resolution, the fifth attempt on the Israel-Hamas war, calls for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas and for urgent and extended humanitarian corridors throughout the enclave to save and protect civilian lives. The affirmative vote came after four unsuccessful efforts to take action last month.
- The UN Security Council succeeds in finding unity, adopting resolution 2712 on the Israel-Palestine crisis that began on 7 October, with 12 members voting in favour, none against and three abstentions (Russia, United Kingdom, United States), calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” in Gaza for “a sufficient number of days” to allow full, rapid, safe and unhindered access for UN agencies and partners
- The Council “calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access”, by the terms of the resolution
- The Council, by additional provisions in the text, calls on all parties to refrain from depriving the civilian population in Gaza of basic services and aid indispensable to their survival, consistent with international humanitarian law
- The resolution does not condemn the Hamas attacks of 7 October which began the current wave of violence and battle for control of Gaza
- The Council rejected an amendment proposed by Russia, with five votes in favour, one against and nine abstentions
- “Our vote today translates into real human lives,” said the ambassador of Malta, penholder of the newly adopted resolution
- Ambassadors from the UK and US separately regretted to note that the draft failed to condemn Hamas and voiced support for civilian protection and rapid aid delivery measures
- Russia’s ambassador said a real ceasefire is needed and “the Council will need to make a decision on further steps”, including what observers to send to the conflict area and which UN contingent will be involved
- “This madness must be brought to an end,” said Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN, adding that: “It is time for peace”
- Israel’s Ambassador said the crisis could be brought to an immediate end if all Israeli hostages are returned unscathed and Hamas laid down their arms and turned themselves in
Reasons for abstention
US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted the resolution’s unique mention of Hamas but highlighted the lack of the Hamas condemnation.
UK Ambassador Woodward regretted the resolution’s failure to explicitly condemn Hamas, leading to a UK abstention.
Russian Ambassador Nebenzia stated Moscow’s abstention was in response to regional calls for humanitarian action, emphasising the need for an immediate ceasefire as a precondition for effective humanitarian measures.
The adoption of the resolution came after four failed attempts last month in the Council to take action on allowing humanitarian access in the Israel-Hamas conflict that broke out after the militant group attacked Israel on October 7.
Earlier, Russia and China vetoed a US resolution affirming the right to self-defence against terrorist threats. A Brazilian text proposing humanitarian pauses was vetoed by the US.
Resolution ‘detached from reality’: Israel
Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Brett Jonathan Miller, was the last to speak at the meeting.
He said the resolution was “detached from the reality on the ground” and “falls on deaf ears when it comes to Hamas and other terrorist organizations”.
He noted that the Council has met nearly 10 times in the six weeks since Hamas’s “barbaric invasion” of Israel, which it still has not condemned as the world’s premier body for peace and security.
“The resolution focuses solely on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. It makes no mention of what led up to this moment,” he said. “The resolution makes it seem as if what we are witnessing in Gaza happened of its own accord.”
He added that Israel’s top priority is to bring the hostages home, “and seeing as Security Council resolutions hold no sway with terrorists, Israel will continue to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.”
Mr. Miller said the war would end immediately “should Hamas choose to lay down their arms, turn themselves in and handover the hostages unscathed”.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat insists that extended humanitarian pauses are unfeasible as long as Hamas holds 239 hostages, calling on the UN Security Council to condemn Hamas.
Simultaneously, Israel resumed its military operation at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, claiming a Hamas command center located below. The US and Israel allege tunnels exist, which Hamas and hospital directors deny.
Israeli forces also drop leaflets warning Palestinians to evacuate southern Gaza, hinting at a potential expansion of operations.