Russia Push for UN Security Council Action on Israel, Gaza Fails
11:42 JST, October 17, 2023
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in Gaza failed to pass on Monday, while a vote on a rival Brazilian text was delayed until Tuesday.
The draft resolution received five votes in favor and four votes against, along with six abstentions. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain – to pass.
“Today, the entire world waited with bated breath for the Security Council to take steps in order to put an end to the bloodletting, but the delegations of the Western countries have basically stomped on those expectations,” Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the council after the vote.
Russia proposed the one-page draft text on Friday, which also called for the release of hostages, humanitarian aid access, and the safe evacuation of civilians in need. The text condemned violence against civilians and all acts of terrorism, but did not name Hamas, which killed 1,300 people in Israel on Oct. 7.
“By failing to condemn Hamas, Russia is giving cover to a terrorist group that brutalizes innocent civilians. It is outrageous. It is hypocritical and it is indefensible,” said the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
She said the United States, which traditionally shields its ally Israel from council action, does “agree that this council should take action, but we have to get it right and we’ll work intensively with all members on the council to do so.”
A vote on the rival Brazilian-drafted resolution, which condemns “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas,” was delayed until late Tuesday to give the council more time to negotiate.
The council met as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a marathon meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas – which controls the Gaza Strip – after its fighters stormed Israeli towns, killed 1,300 people and seized hostages in the worst attack on civilians in Israel’s 75-year-old history.
Israel is preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza while subjecting the enclave to the most intense bombardment ever, putting Gaza under total siege. Gaza authorities say at least 2,750 people have been killed.
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