Israel-Hamas war: UN adopts resolution to improve humanitarian aid to Gaza, without call for immediate ceasefire

After long negotiations, the UN Security Council demanded on Friday, December 22, the “large-scale” delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, without calling for a ceasefire – a mention that the Americans, allies of Israel, did not wish to do so despite international pressure

Israel-Hamas war: UN adopts resolution to improve humanitarian aid to Gaza, without call for immediate ceasefire

After long negotiations, the UN Security Council demanded on Friday, December 22, the “large-scale” delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, without calling for a ceasefire – a mention that the Americans, allies of Israel, did not wish to do so despite international pressure.

The resolution adopted by 13 votes in favor, none against and two abstentions – from the United States and Russia – “requires all parties to authorize and facilitate the immediate, safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to large scale” in Gaza and calls for “urgently taking” measures in this regard and to “create the conditions for a lasting cessation of hostilities.”

The text also requires the use of “all access and circulation routes available throughout the Gaza Strip” for the delivery of fuel, food and medical equipment throughout the territory. “We know that it is not a perfect text, we know that only a ceasefire will put an end to the suffering”, commented the Ambassador of the Emirates Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, at the origin of the initial text proposed on Sunday .

But “if we do not take drastic measures, there will be famine in Gaza”, and this text “responds with action to the desperate humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people”, she added before the vote.

Israeli offensive blamed

“A humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to begin to respond to the desperate needs of the people of Gaza and put an end to their nightmare,” responded UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who had “ hoped” more from the Council. Directly attacking Israel, he said that the “real problem” for the delivery of aid to Gaza is the Israeli “offensive”.

The resolution, the result of long discussions under the threat of a new American veto, has evolved significantly since the more ambitious version proposed on Sunday by the Emirates. The reference to an “urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities” present in Sunday’s text has disappeared, as has the less direct request in the following version for an “urgent suspension of hostilities”.

A Russian amendment wanting to return to this call for an “urgent suspension of hostilities” was blocked by the United States, receiving 10 votes in favor and 4 abstentions. “This is a tragic moment for the Council,” denounced Russian Ambassador Vassili Nebenzia, denouncing American “blackmail”.

Council members wanted to avoid another veto, as residents of the Gaza Strip, shelled by Israeli forces in retaliation for the bloody and unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7, are now threatened by famine.

Many texts rejected

This is only the second time that the Council has managed to agree on a text. Its previous resolution on November 15 called for “humanitarian pauses.” Five other texts were rejected in two months, two of them due to American vetoes, the last on December 8. The United States then blocked, despite unprecedented pressure from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the call for a “humanitarian ceasefire”, also deemed unacceptable by Israel.

Negotiations on this new resolution were also intense around the terms of setting up a monitoring mechanism to ensure the “humanitarian” nature of the aid.

Another sensitive point, the absence once again in the text of a condemnation - and even of the name - of Hamas, castigated by Israel and the United States. The text deplores “all acts of terrorism” as well as “all attacks against civilians”, and demands the “unconditional” release of all hostages.

After the October 7 attack which, according to Israeli authorities, left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, shelling Palestinian territory, besieging it and carrying out a vast operation terrestrial since October 27. The Hamas Ministry of Health reported on Friday 20,057 deaths since the start of Israeli bombardments, mainly women, children and adolescents, and more than 50,000 injured.