The United Nations Security Council rejected a Russian-led draft resolution that called for a humanitarian ceasefire, release of all hostages, aid access, and safe evacuation of civilians from Gaza, which is under Israeli siege and relentless bombardment since Oct 7 attack by Hamas militants that left more than 1400 Israelis, mostly civilians dead. According to Palestinian authorities, Israeli bombing has so far killed at least 2,808 people and wounded 10,859 others.
The resolution received five votes in favor (China, Gabon, Mozambique, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates) and four against (France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States), with six abstentions (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Malta, and Switzerland).
For the Council to adopt a resolution, the proposal must receive at least nine votes in favour, with none of its five permanent members opposing or casting a veto.
The draft text had called for a humanitarian ceasefire, release of all hostages, aid access, and safe evacuation of civilians.
‘Selfish interest’ of western countries
According to UN News, Vassily Nebenzia, permanent representative of Russia to the UN expressed regret over the Security Council’s failure to adopt the resolution, blaming the “selfish intention of the western bloc.”
He said that the western countries’ delegations “basically stomped” on global hopes for the Council to put an end to violence.
Ambassador Nebenzia noted that the vote revealed countries in support of ending the violence and providing humanitarian aid, and those blocking a unified message “for purely selfish and political interests”.
“We are extremely concerned by the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and the very high risk of the conflict spreading,” he said.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN said that her country could not support the Russian draft resolution as it ignored Hamas’ terrorism and dishonored victims.
“By failing to condemn Hamas, Russia is giving cover to a terrorist group that brutalizes innocent civilians. It is outrageous, hypocritical and indefensible,” she said.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield condemned Hamas for killing civilians, taking hostages, including American citizens, and slaughtering families, and that Hamas’ actions led to the dire humanitarian crisis facing the people of Gaza.
“We cannot allow this Council to unfairly shift the blame to Israel and excuse Hamas for its decades of cruelty,” she said.
BIDEN TO VISIT ISRAEL; US-ISRAEL AAID DEAL
President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday, Oct 17, Secretary of State Antyony Blinken announced in Tel Aviv on Oct 18. Blinken, earlier, attended a meeting with Israel’s war cabinet, which last several hours. “He’s coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world,” he said.
He said Biden will reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and “our ironclad commitment to its security”. He said the President will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people.
According to a statement released by the State Department, Blinken added that Biden will underscore “our crystal-clear message to any actor, state or non-state, trying to take advantage of this crisis to attack Israel: Don’t. To that end, he’s deployed two aircraft carrier groups and other military assets to the region.”
He said, the president will continue to coordinate closely with Israeli partners to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas as an indispensable humanitarian effort.
Blinken added that Biden will receive a comprehensive brief on Israel’s war aims and strategy. “He will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas,” he added.
“To that end, today, and at our request, the United States and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza – and them alone – including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians our of harm’s way. It is critical that aid begin flowing into Gaza as soon as possible.”