A resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in the Israel – Hamas conflict issued by the United Nations Security Council ( UNSC ) was vetoed by the United States on Wednesday, October 18,2023.
The resolution by the Security Council :
The resolution by the Security Council called for humanitarian pauses in the Israel – Hamas conflict in order to allow and provide humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip. Notably, in the last couple of days, the draft was delayed twice as the United States tried to arrange and broker aid access to Gaza.
The Security Council consists of fifteen member countries – out of which – twelve member countries voted in favour of the Brazilian – drafted text.
The United Kingdom and Russia, two permanent members of the council, decided to abstain on the resolution. The United States, another permanent member of the UNSC, vetoed the draft resolution.
United States vetoes draft resolution :
After the vote on the draft, Linda Thomas – Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, stated to the fifteen – member council that “we are on the ground doing the hard work of diplomacy” and that “we believe we need to let that diplomacy play out”. She further continued by stating that “yes, resolutions are important and yes, this council must speak out” but the “actions we take” must be informed by the “facts on the ground and support direct diplomacy efforts”. She added that they can “save lives” and that “the council needs to get this right”.
Vassily Nebenzia, The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, responded to the veto vote by the US, by claiming that “we have just been witnesses once again to the hypocrisy and double standards of our American colleagues”.
Previously, a Russian – drafted resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel – Hamas conflict was rejected by the delegations of the Security Council, and as such, it failed to pass in the council on Monday, October 16.
Russia stated that it has now asked for the 193 – member United Nations General Assembly to convene for an emergency special session over the Israel – Hamas conflict. Russia may decide to put a draft resolution for vote in the UN General Assembly, where no member nations hold a veto power. Though the resolutions of the UN General Assembly are non – binding, they still carry political force.
Zhang Jun, China’s Ambassador to the United Nations, also accused the US of leading the council members to believe that the resolution could be adopted as it did not express any opposition towards the draft during negotiations. He described the veto vote by the United states as “nothing short of unbelievable”.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary – General, called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel – Hamas conflict, in order to allow and provide for humanitarian aid access to Gaza and for the release of hostages.
Additionally, Tor Wennesland, the Middle East peace envoy to the United Nations, told the security council that the risk in regards to an expansion of the conflict is “very real and extremely dangerous”. Wennesland addressed the council via a video from Doha.
Without naming the country, the draft resolution also urged Israel to rescind and revoke its order for UN staff and civilians in Gaza to move to the South of the Palestinian enclave and also condemned “the terrorist attacks by Hamas”.