The UN Security Council on Monday night in New York failed to adopt a resolution proposed by Brazil that would have called for humanitarian pauses to allow full, safe and unhindered access for United Nations agencies and their partners, due to a veto cast by a permanent member of the Council, the United States. The resolution would have condemned all violence and hostilities against civilians and all acts of terrorism, and would have unequivocally rejected and condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 7 October. It would have also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and for the protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel, as well as hospitals and medical facilities, consistent with international humanitarian law.
By other terms, it would have called for the rescission of the order for civilians and UN staff to evacuate all areas in Gaza north of the Wadi Gaza and relocate in southern Gaza. It would have also strongly urged the continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians, including electricity, water, fuel, food and medical supplies, under international humanitarian law.
Although the United States cast a veto, the draft resolution garnered support from 12 Council members, including two permanent members (China, France), with two other permanent members (United Kingdom, Russian Federation) abstaining. Prior to voting on the text, the Council voted on two amendments proposed by the Russian Federation, neither of which were adopted as they failed to obtain the required number of votes. The first amendment, proposed above the first operative paragraph, would have called for an immediate and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire, while the second would have called for the insertion of a new operative paragraph unequivocally condemning indiscriminate attacks against civilians, as well as against civilian objects in Gaza resulting in civilian casualties, in particular the strike against Al Ahli Arab Hospital.
Speaking after the vote, Brazil’s delegate said that Council members had asked for his country’s leadership to facilitate a response to the crisis, stating: “We heeded the call. In our view, this was an urgent matter that required immediate action.” He added that he was disappointed by “the lack of political will” among some Council members to adopt a resolution that was “robust and balanced”.
The failure by the Council to make its first public intervention on this conflict followed an air strike on a northern Gaza hospital that marked a sharp escalation in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. The attack killed at least 15 people including six children at Al Ahli Arab Hospital on Saturday night. Israel said it was targeting Hamas operatives who were planning attacks from inside hospitals. Hamas said it was retaliating against Israeli aggression that had killed more than 200 Palestinians since 7 October.
The conflict has also sparked international condemnation over allegations of war crimes committed by both sides. The UN Human Rights Council has opened an investigation into possible violations of international humanitarian law by Israel during its recent military operations in Gaza. The International Criminal Court has also announced that it will examine whether there is enough evidence to establish whether any individual is criminally responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during or as a result of hostilities between Israel and Hamas since 7 October.
Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF , WHO , Oxfam , Save The Children , Médecins Sans Frontières , Action Against Hunger , CARE , World Vision , Plan International , Islamic Relief , Doctors Without Borders , Norwegian Refugee Council , Human Rights Watch , Amnesty International , B’Tselem , Breaking The Silence , Combatants For Peace , Women’s International League For Peace And Freedom , International Committee Of The Red Cross (ICRC) , International Federation Of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) , European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights (FRA) , European Union Delegation To Palestine (EUDIPAL) , European Union High Representative For Foreign Affairs And Security Policy (EUROPEAN UNION HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY) have warned that Gaza is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to decades-long blockade imposed by Israel on movement into or out of Gaza; destruction caused by Israeli airstrikes; lack of access to basic services such as water; electricity; health care; education; sanitation; food security; protection from violence; displacement; trauma; grief; loss; fear; despair.
They have appealed to all parties involved in this conflict to respect international law; protect civilians; ensure unhindered access for humanitarian workers; end hostilities immediately; resume dialogue based on mutual recognition; respect previous agreements such as Oslo Accords ; Road Map For Peace ; Arab Peace Initiative ; Geneva Initiative ; Egyptian Initiative ; Quartet Roadmap ; Road Map For Lebanon ; Road Map For Syria ; Road Map For Iraq ; Road Map For Palestine ; Road Map For