UN Security Council OKs resolution to boost humanitarian aid in Gaza

December 23, 2023, 5:32 pm

<p>United Nations <em>(Anadolu)</em></p>

United Nations (Anadolu)

WASHINGTON – The UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution calling for "urgent steps" to immediately allow "safe, unhindered, and expanded" humanitarian access to Gaza amid the ongoing Israeli offensive on the strip, but with the US again nixing language calling for a ceasefire in the conflict before the vote.

After several days of intense negotiations and nail-biting delays, the resolution submitted by the United Arab Emirates passed by a vote of 13-0, with the US and Russia -- both permanent council members -- abstaining.

The resolution demands the parties to the conflict allow and facilitate the use of all available routes to and throughout the entire Gaza Strip, including border crossings, to ensure humanitarian personnel and assistance reach the civilian population in need.

The resolution requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoint a “senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator” to expedite the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in Gaza.

It further requests that the coordinator expeditiously establish a UN mechanism for accelerating the provisions of humanitarian relief to Gaza.
Demanding that parties to the conflict cooperate with the coordinator to fulfill their mandate "without delay and obstruction," the resolution also requests that the coordinator report to the council with an initial report within 20 days and thereafter every 90 days through Sept. 20.

The resolution also demands the "immediate and unconditional" release of all hostages, calls on the parties to adhere to international law, and deplores all attacks on civilians and civilian objects.

Demanding that all parties take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel, the resolution stressed that humanitarian relief personnel must be protected.

It also requested Guterres report to the council in writing within five working days on implementation of the resolution.

'Palestinian people bearing brunt of conflict'

Ahead of the vote, the US vetoed an amendment proposed by Russia demanding an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in Gaza to ensure "uninterrupted and safe" access to humanitarian aid.

The US has already blocked resolutions calling for a ceasefire, to the evident frustration of many countries worldwide, including some of its allies on the Security Council.

Speaking ahead of the vote, UAE Ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh said the purpose of the resolution is "very simple."

"It responds with action to the dire humanitarian situation on the ground for the Palestinian people bearing the brunt of this conflict, while protecting those who are trying to deliver life-saving aid and it demands the urgent release of the hostages and for humanitarian access to address their medical needs," she added.

The council’s 15 members have negotiated extensively to try to find a language that meets everyone's concerns, Nusseibeh said, urging the members not the reject the resolution "when the needs of people are so great."

The vote was especially notable in that since Oct. 7, several Security Council resolutions on the conflict failed to pass due to vetoes by its permanent members, leading some world leaders and observers to question the council’s effectiveness.

Since Oct. 7, the Israeli army has been waging a destructive war on Gaza, resulting in 20,057 deaths and 53,320 wounded so far, most of them children and women. This has caused immense damage to infrastructure and an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, according to Palestinian and international sources. (Anadolu)