February 27, 2024

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UN Security Council wants more humanitarian aid to Gaza

UN  Security Council wants more humanitarian aid to Gaza
The UN Security Council has passed a resolution to provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Earlier versions were rejected by the US.

After days of protests, the UN Security Council issued a resolution calling for increased humanitarian aid to the estimated two million people in need in the Gaza Strip. The most powerful UN body adopted a compromise text in New York on Friday. The US avoided and ignored the use of the veto.

Since the beginning of the week, it appeared that Washington would use its veto power to protect the interests of its ally Israel. However, massive concessions by the negotiators prevented the decision from collapsing at the last moment. A total of 13 of the 15 countries voted for the text, with the United States and Russia abstaining.

The decision, which is binding under international law, calls on Israel to “immediately implement safe and unimpeded humanitarian access” to the Gaza Strip. An environment for a permanent cessation of violence must also be created.

Council members agreed to appoint a responsible UN coordinator on the contentious issue of how relief supplies should be monitored. It should also ensure that deliveries are expedited with the cooperation of all stakeholders. The Council also calls for humanitarian supplies to pass through all available border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

However, due to pressure from the US, other areas were removed: A paragraph condemning “all violations of international humanitarian law, including all indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian objects” is no longer found in the resolution. Nor was the immediate cessation of violence demanded prior to the implementation of aid deliveries.

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Many council members were dissatisfied with the speech because of its considerable weakness. It's unclear how much influence the resolution will actually have. Despite its binding nature, the consequences for Israel of violating it are manageable.

The US government in particular struggled domestically for a long time when negotiating a resolution introduced by the United Arab Emirates. According to reports, top diplomats had already prepared to leave earlier in the week. But President Joe Biden vetoed the decision despite talks with UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday. But then-US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken secured further concessions in direct talks with his counterparts from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, diplomats said.

In recent weeks, two similar draft resolutions failed due to US opposition. Washington has always stood behind Israel and said that violating the resolution would harm diplomatic efforts on the ground. So far, the UN Security Council has only passed a resolution on the conflict that is bound under international law with a humanitarian focus a few weeks ago. On the other hand, the UN General Assembly has already twice called for an end to the violence through resolutions. However, the decisions of this body are not binding, but rather symbolic.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken unusually strong steps to urge the Security Council to advocate for a humanitarian ceasefire. In a recent letter to the Council, the U.N. He referred to Article 99 of the Charter. It allows the Secretary-General to draw the attention of the Security Council to “any matter likely to affect the guarantee of international peace and security”. (D Online)

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