Gaza Crisis: U.S., Russia Abstain As Security Council Adopts Key Resolution—The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution on the ongoing crisis with 13 votes in favour and the U.S. and Russia abstaining.
The resolution, among others demands immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza strip.
Speaking, Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, said the Security Concill first met to address the crisis when hundreds of Palestinians had been killed by Israel.
“The Council is now meeting after over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, almost half of them children and 60,000 wounded, and two million Palestinians have been forcefully displaced.
“It is meeting as homes, shelters, schools and hospitals have been destroyed, and as hunger and disease are spreading like wildfire,” he noted.
He added that Palestinians had been facing death every single day for 75 days.
He stated that the Arab and Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) groups, with support of some UN Member States had been mobilising for three objectives, an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian assistance at scale, and no forced displacement.
“We meet today as part of the continuous efforts to advance these goals,” he said.
Mansour said, “inhumane and criminal Israeli siege” and the use of vital humanitarian “as a method of war” must end immediately.
“What we are dealing with is an attempt at the destruction of our people and their displacement forever from their land,” he said.
He added: “This is Israel’s goal, its true objective, no future for Palestinians in Palestine.
“That is why it is bombing everyone and everything.”
He described the resolution as a step in the right direction, noting that it must be implemented and must be accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate ceasefire.
Russian Ambassador, Alekseyevich Nebenzia, recalled the amendment proposed by his delegation and said the vote on it was a moment of truth.
He expressed regret that the Security Council did not find the courage to support at least the minimum call for an end to the violence in Gaza, and it instead signed up for a “license to kill” Palestinian civilians.
“This is a tragic moment for the Council, not a moment of triumph for multilateral diplomacy, but rather one of gross unprincipled blackmail and open scorn on the part of Washington for the suffering of Palestinians and the hopes of the global community,” he said.
He noted that if the draft resolution had not been supported by a number of Arab States, Russia would certainly have vetoed it.
He added that Arab States are able to take decisions and bear responsibility, and underscored “categorical” disagreement with the content on the resolution.
Ambassador Nebenzia also emphasised that the Security Council’s clear demand for a full ceasefire remained an imperative, and that without it, the implementation of Council decisions in Gaza was simply impossible.
U.S. Ambassador, Thomas-Greenfield, was the first to speak after the vote, describing the resolution as “a glimmer of hope amongst a sea of unimaginable suffering.”
She said since the start of the conflict, the U.S. had worked tirelessly to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, to get lifesaving assistance into Gaza and to get hostages out of the enclave.
She added that the country also pushed for the protection of innocent civilians and humanitarian workers, and to work towards a lasting peace.
“Today this Council made clear that all hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally and that humanitarian groups must be able to access hostages, including for medical visits,” she said.
The Council made it clear that all parties must respect international humanitarian laws and that civilian, humanitarian and UN facilities, as well as humanitarian personnel and medical personnel, must be protected.
While encouraged that the Council spoke out on the humanitarian crisis, Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. was “appalled” that it was again unable to condemn the horrific terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.
She said her country did not support the proposal by Russia.
“We believe the humanitarian resolution before us calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.
“This is a strong step forward,” she added.