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Middle East crisis

UN vote on Gaza delayed another day amid talks to avoid US veto

UN vote on Gaza delayed another day amid talks to avoid US veto
Smoke rises following Israeli air strikes on Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, 19 December 2023. Israeli forces resumed military strikes on Gaza after a week-long truce expired on 01 December. More than 18,000 Palestinians and at least 1,200 Israelis have been killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), since Hamas militants launched an attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October, and the Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank which followed it. EPA-EFE/HAITHAM IMAD

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - A United Nations Security Council vote on a bid to boost aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip has been delayed by another day as talks continue to try and avoid a third US veto of action over the two-month long Israel-Hamas war, diplomats said on Tuesday.

The 15-member council was initially going to vote on a resolution – drafted by the United Arab Emirates – on Monday. But it has repeatedly been delayed as diplomats say the UAE and the US struggle to agree on language citing a cessation of hostilities and a proposal to set up U.N. aid monitoring.

When asked if they were getting close to an agreement, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on Tuesday: “We’re trying, we really are.”

The draft resolution would demand Israel and Hamas allow and facilitate land, sea and air deliveries of aid to and throughout the Gaza Strip and ask the United Nations to monitor humanitarian assistance arriving in the Palestinian enclave.

Diplomats said the United States wants to tone down language that “calls for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

Washington traditionally shields its ally Israel from any Security Council action. It had already twicevetoed Security Council action since an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that Israel says killed 1,200 people and saw 240 people taken hostage.

Israel has retaliated against Hamas by bombarding Gaza from the air, imposing a siege and launching a ground offensive. Nearly 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials. UN officials warn of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza with the majority of the coastal Palestinian enclave’s 2.3 million people driven from their homes.

 

AID MONITORING

Diplomats said that Washington is also unhappy with a proposal in the UAE draft resolution that asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a monitoring mechanism in Gaza “to exclusively monitor all humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza provided through land, sea and air routes of those states that are not parties to the conflict.”

Limited humanitarian aid and fuel deliveries have crossed into Gaza via the Rafah crossing from Egypt, subjected to monitoring by Israel, but UN officials and aid workers say it comes nowhere near to satisfying the most basic needs of Gazans.

Nate Evans, spokesperson for the US mission to the U.N., said on Tuesday: “We believe there needs to be a large increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza, as we have worked to achieve on the ground through our diplomacy. We continue to work constructively with council members on this product.”

On Sunday the Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza opened for aid trucks for the first time since the outbreak of war, officials said, in a move to double the amount of food and medicine reaching Gaza.

The UN Office for the Coordinations of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that on Sunday 102 aid trucks and four tankers of fuel had entered Gaza via the Rafah and 79 trucks entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom.

“This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October,” it said in a statement.

Earlier this month the 193-member UN General Assembly demanded a humanitarian ceasefire, with 153 states voting in favor of the move that had been vetoed by the United States in the Security Council days earlier.

A seven-day pause – during which Hamas released some hostages, some Palestinians were freed from Israeli jails and there was an increase in aid to Gaza – had ended on Dec. 1.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Diane Craft)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Cedric Buffler says:

    What would happen if Hamas were to release all the hostages from 7 October? Surely this would lessen the urgency of the Israeli campaign?

    • Fuad XXX says:

      More to the point what would happen if Israel stopped brutalizing Palestinian youth & women? (reference “Stone Cold Justice”) What would happen if Israel stopped its illegal settlers expansion or Zionist Apartheid state against the Palestinians?(reference “Breaking the Silence”) Surely it is long time past for decent democracies to stand up against Israeli WAR CRIMES.

    • Fuad XXX says:

      Israel do not want the hostages released – It is their excuse to prolong the genocide for as long as possible & by the way was it not the IDF who shot the “terrorists” as well as hostages?

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