UN Security Council rejects US and Russian draft resolutions on Gaza

The UN's top body again fails to act on the Israel-Gaza conflict

The UN Security Council votes on the US draft resolution on the Israel-Gaza conflict. AP
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The UN Security Council on Wednesday rejected two competing resolutions, proposed by rival powers Russia and the US, on the Israel-Gaza war.

The latest failure to act on the crisis came after two other draft resolutions presented by Russia and Brazil failed last week.

The US draft presented on Wednesday emphasised “the inherent right of all states to individual and collective self-defence”, but it was blocked by Russia and China.

It also called for “humanitarian pauses”, but not a ceasefire, to let urgently needed aid into the Gaza Strip.

It received 10 votes in favour, two abstentions and three against, including the UAE, which voted in line with the Arab group's joint position.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Washington had worked to forge a consensus around the resolution that is “strong and balanced”.

“We solicited input, we listened," Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

"The United States is deeply disappointed that Russia and China vetoed this resolution," she said. "We did listen to all of you."

The Russian draft text called for “an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire” and condemned “all violence and hostilities against civilians".

It gathered four votes in favour, two against and 10 abstentions.

The UAE ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, told Council members that the UAE vote was “strictly on the merit of the draft resolutions submitted to this Council and how they tangibly respond to the dire situation in Gaza”.

“Yesterday, we heard dozens of statements imploring this council to assign the same value to Palestinian life as it does to Israeli life," Ms Nusseibeh said.

"We cannot allow any equivocation on this point. There is no hierarchy of civilian lives. These must be the priorities of any resolution adopted by this council."

She said the Council cannot be silent on the question of forced displacement and Israel's order for civilians to flee northern Gaza.

“Crucially, the Gaza Strip is occupied territory, there should be no ambiguity about that," Ms Nusseibeh said. "We still hope that forging consensus is possible. But clearly it will require more work.”

Delivering a statement on behalf of the Council's 10 non-permanent members serving a two-year term, Malta’s UN ambassador Vanessa Frazier said the Security Council must urgently address the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

“As elected members of this Council, we also represent the rest of the international community and we have a duty and an obligation to act," she said.

"There is no time to waste."

Ms Frazier said they will be working on a new proposal in the coming days.

With the Security Council paralysed, the UN General Assembly - where there are no vetoes - is scheduled to hold an emergency session on the Israeli-Hamas conflict on Thursday. The debate will be followed by a vote on Friday afternoon on a draft resolution submitted by Jordan on behalf of the Arab Group.

The text seen by The National focuses on an immediate ceasefire and demands continuous and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip.

The draft which has so far 40 co-sponsors, rejects any attempts at forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 1:11 PM