The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses and corridors” in war-torn Gaza. A total of 12 countries in the 15-member council voted in favor of the document, while the US, Britain and Russia abstained.
On Wednesday night, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the situation in Gaza and the war between Israel and Hamas. A war that has so far caused thousands of civilian casualties, including about 5,000 children, according to Palestinian sources.
The resolution was initiated and drafted by Malta and is described as an attempt to help vulnerable children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone. It is a long-awaited diplomatic breakthrough after weeks of bitter negotiations.
NEWS: Security Council passes resolution calling for urgent & extended humanitarian pauses & corridors throughout Gaza, and immediate & unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas & other groups.https://t.co/NbQYc6KSBa pic.twitter.com/8GnTp531qq
— United Nations (@UN) November 15, 2023
The document contains a number of points, the most important of which are
- Humanitarian pauses and corridors in the Gaza Strip “for a sufficient number of days to enable, consistent with international humanitarian law, the full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access” for United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other impartial humanitarian organizations enabling them to deliver humanitarian aid, repair essential infrastructure and organize “urgent rescue and recovery efforts, including for missing children in damaged and destroyed buildings.”
- The humanitarian pause should be long enough to conduct “evacuation of sick or injured children and their care givers.”
- It also contains a call for immediate release of all hostages, particularly children. The resolution calls upon all parties to the conflict to refrain from depriving the civilian population of basic services and humanitarian aid.
The resolution also stresses the importance of “mechanisms for coordination, humanitarian information and conflict resolution”.
Israel rejects the resolution
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement after the vote that the resolution was “disconnected from reality and is meaningless”.
– Regardless of what the council decides, Israel will continue acting according to international law while the Hamas terrorists will not even read the resolution at all, let alone abide by it, Erdan said.
Critics argue that the resolution is an exercise in futility because it does not call for an immediate (albeit temporary) ceasefire and does not explicitly condemn Hamas, while other critics call the resolution biased in favor of “the occupation and oppression of the State of Israel”.
It FAILED to call for a #ceasefire
It FAILED to ask Israel to RELEASE all detainees
The resolution is BIASED towards the occupation and oppression
— Raza Khan (@Raza_AKhan) November 16, 2023
“An important first step”
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Monsour welcomed the fact that the Council was “finally taking action,” but said the need for a ceasefire should have been addressed and that it was “time for peace.” He also criticized the Council’s failure to condemn the killing of civilians and humanitarian workers.
In a statement, the International Rescue Committee called the vote “an important first step”. “It is now incumbent upon all parties to the conflict, and all UN member states to do everything in their power to help turn these words into action”, the IRC statement continued.
At the UN General Assembly last month, more than 120 countries voted for a “durable humanitarian ceasefire” as a hoped-for first step toward a cessation of hostilities. But the vote in that body, unlike a binding vote in the Security Council, is non-binding.
The de facto impact of the resolution on the fighting is unclear and likely to be marginal, according to many analysts.