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UNSC adopts diluted resolution on scaled-up aid access to Gaza by a vote of 13 in favour, 2 abstentions

Dec. 23: After four delays in a week, the UNSC finally tabled and adopted a Resolution to scale-up aid delivery to Gaza, with no mention of a ceasefire. The US’ continuous pressure to dilute the resolution to remove any mention of a ceasefire led to continuous delays. While many Arab countries and other countries like Russia favour a stronger resolution, the US refused to pass any resolution that would lead to any meaningful difference on the ground. When the voting finally took place, there were two abstentions – the US itself, and Russia, the latter due to its criticism of the weakened resolution which the Russian representative argued would be effective complicity in the continued onslaught on Gaza.

The resolution 2720 finally passed instead mentions the need to create conditions for “sustainable cessation of hostilities” rather than the term ceasefire. The initial language of the resolution on Monday sought to “immediate cessation of hostilities”, but the US did not agree to that version. Instead, the resolution only speaks about creating conditions for a sustainable cessation, which is a significant dilution and was the crux of Russia’s disagreement.

The vast majority of the UNSC sought a ceasefire. The full text can be found here. In simple terms, it calls for a significant increase in humanitarian aid and its facilitation in a binding format under international law, which is different from UNGA resolutions which are non-binding.

Photo: UN News

Speaking after the vote, the US representative yet again said the US was appalled that the Council did not condemn Hamas and that the US looks forward to a united Palestine under the Palestinian Authority in the future, reasserting the US position that there should be a post-Hamas future. She repeated the US refrain about sexual violence committed by Hamas, a claim that has yet to find any basis in objective reporting.

The UAE representative said, “Let’s be clear, in the coming period, unless we take drastic action, there will be famine in #Gaza” while conceding that the text was not perfect and that the UAE is in favour of a ceasefire to end the suffering of Gazans, but little could be done as previous resolutions in favour of a ceasefire have failed.

Russia spoke out very strongly against the proposed resolution and instead offered amendments that would strengthen the language of the proposed resolution 2720, but the amendment was not adopted due to vetoes of permanent member nations, including the US.

Many experts have long highlighted the problems within the UNSC structure where a permanent member can veto any resolution it wishes, which has enabled the US to effectively blockade any ceasefire efforts and dilute resolutions.

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