In the wake of the terror strikes on October 7 in Israel by the Palestinian militant faction Hamas, which culminated in over 1,400 fatalities, a draft resolution was brought forth by Brazil at the UN Security Council. The resolution not only censured these attacks but also entreated the liberation of hostages.
The draft further advocated that all involved parties adhere to international norms, emphasizing the safeguarding of civilian lives in the Gaza region controlled by Hamas. It underscored the pivotal role of the international consortium in orchestrating “humanitarian pauses” in the hostilities, facilitating aid provision.
On Wednesday, 12 out of 15 council members endorsed the draft. The UK and Russia chose to abstain, while the US exercised its veto.
Post-vote, US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield elucidated that the US sought additional time for its diplomacy on the ground to “play out.” She also articulated concerns regarding the omission of Israel’s self-defense rights in the draft. British representative Barbara Woodward subsequently resonated with this sentiment.
The fallout from the Hamas onslaught has seen Israel retaliate with extensive airstrikes on Hamas-dominated Gaza. This offensive has further isolated Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants, depriving them of essential resources, including food, water, and power. Israeli strikes have led to over 3,000 deaths, among them, over 1,000 children and several aid workers.
Amidst these tensions, deliberations between the US, Egypt, Israel, and the UN are underway concerning the potential inauguration of a humanitarian passage via the Rafah border, connecting Gaza to Egypt.
The inability to release a unified statement accentuating the criticality of aid and civil protection was a source of dismay for many in the Security Council. Sergio Franca Danese, UN Ambassador to Brazil, voiced his lament post-veto, highlighting the council’s recurring inertia. Nicolas de Rivière, the French representative, echoed these sentiments.
Asserting Israel’s right to self-defense, de Rivière further remarked that ensuring civilian safety and humanitarian access is not contradictory to this right.
UAE’s ambassador, Lana Nusseibah, while conceding the draft’s imperfections, emphasized its foundational principles, which the Council is duty-bound to endorse. Nusseibah remains optimistic about US diplomatic strides in the region.
The Security Council’s potency is often undercut by the veto prowess of its five permanent members. Notably, Russia’s recent proposition of a Gaza humanitarian ceasefire also found no traction, reminiscent of earlier Russian vetoes concerning its Ukraine invasion.