As the bombs rain heavily and continuously on Gaza Strip in Israel’s war on Hamas, causing massive destruction of monumental proportion including an unimaginable number of civilian casualties – over 6,500 women and children have been killed so far. Close to a million Gazans are displaced without food, water and electricity. Amidst the wanton killings and maiming in the densely populated enclave, world power are faltering and bickering over a draft resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire. In the aftermath of an air strike on a northern Gaza hospital that drew widespread global condemnation and marked a sharp escalation in the ongoing crisis, the United Nations Security Council last week failed to adopt two resolutions put forth by Russia and Brazil which would have called for humanitarian ceasefire to allow full, safe and unhindered access for United Nations agencies and their partners into Gaza, where living conditions are harrowing with medical care crippled. The Brazil draft resolution failed to sail through due to a veto cast by a permanent member of the Council, the United States, while the Russian-drafted resolution failed to pass after garnering five votes in favour and four votes against, along with six abstentions. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain – to pass.
Still, it is same story this week as the world powers continue to portray signs of discordance. Two separate fresh draft resolutions sponsored by Russia, on one hand, and the United States, on the other, failed to pass at the UN Security Council on Wednesday. Both countries vetoed each others draft resolutions further crippling the process and demonstrating the sharp divisions among the top shots over sensitive details in their proposals.
In its proposal, the United States sought for short pauses to allow aid in while Russia advocated an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and called for lifting the siege on Gaza. Israel has resisted both, arguing that Hamas would only take advantage and create new threats to its civilians. Malta, Brazil and some other non-permanent members of the Council are said to be working out another draft resolution, whilst Jordan is calling for a general meeting of the world body scheduled to hold tomorrow, Friday, October 27.
Both the United States and Russia accused each other of bellicosity and working against efforts to achieve a sustainable resolution to the conflict. The recent bickering and disagreements between the United States and Russia over the Israel/Hamas war has undermined the effectiveness of the Council and highlighted the ongoing tensions between these two superpowers.
The Israel/Hamas conflict has been ongoing for decades, with both sides claiming the right to self-defense and sovereignty over the land. However, the recent escalation of violence, leading to the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, prompted international condemnation and calls for a ceasefire.
The Security Council held several emergency meetings to address the crisis, but the discussions quickly devolved into a verbal sparring match between the United States and Russia. The two countries, which are often at odds on global issues, took opposing stances on the conflict and accused each other of obstructing progress towards a resolution.
The United States, a staunch ally of Israel, has consistently defended Israel’s right to defend itself and the genocide against Hamas. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated that “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people,” and that “Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks are unacceptable and must stop immediately.”
However, Russia took a different position, calling for an immediate ceasefire and expressing concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, stated that “the situation in Gaza is catastrophic,” and that “the Security Council has a responsibility to act to prevent further escalation of the crisis.”
The U.S. accused Russia of providing military aid to Hamas, while Russia accused the U.S. of unilaterally supporting Israel without regard for Palestinian lives.
The bickering also overshadowed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where close to a million Palestinians were displaced and left without access to basic necessities. The Security Council’s inability to come to a consensus on the issue only prolonged the suffering of the Palestinian people and highlighted the limitations of the UN in addressing global crises.
While the war rages on, limited deliveries of food, medicine and water from Egypt restarted on Saturday through Rafah, the only crossing not controlled by Israel, which announced it had sealed off the coastal enclavace after Hamas October 7 deadly attack. However, U.N. agencies said more than 20 times as much is needed by the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people, even in peacetime.
And as if matters could not get any worse, Gaza’s health system in hospitals has also completely collapsed with the Zionists forces intensifying their genocidal attacks across the enclave, targeting residential buildings, markets, shops, mosques, churches, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure.
With the much-anticipated Israeli military ground operation still pending, the Israeli Defense Force [IDF] are conducting incessant, indiscriminate bombardment, killing 2,360 children in Ga in just 17 days. This does not include the 830 children still buried under the rubble.
Condemning Israel’s excessive use of force and violation of international humanitarian law, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said even war has its rules. He expressed criticism of Israel for ordering the evacuation of civilians from northern Gaza to the south of the enclave, saying that the attack launched by Hamas on October 7 did not occur “in a vacuum.”
He condemned the “appalling” and inexcusable violence by Hamas, but noted that Gaza had been “subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation” and that the Israeli response to October 7 attacks has amounted to collective punishment of Palestinians.
“I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza. Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law,” Guterres told the Security Council. He also urged an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to facilitate the release of hostages held by Hamas, deliver aid to civilians and “ease epic suffering” in the Palestinian territory.
Piqued by the UN scribe’s statement, Israel – rather arrogantly and churlishly – announced it will refuse visa applications from UN officials in retaliation.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, told Army Radio on Wednesday. “We have already refused a visa for undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths. The time has come to teach them a lesson.”
The Israeli diplomat claimed on X (formerly Twitter) that Guterres had “expressed a justification for terrorism and murder”, calling on the UN chief to resign.
Al Jazeera reported that while numerous countries have endorsed Guterres’ “very balanced approach,” Israel was “furious” and claimed that the statement served only to justify the attack by the Palestinian militant group. Israeli officials have also called upon Guterres to resign.
On Wednesday, Guterres posted a passage from his speech to social media in an apparent effort to display that he had offered criticism of both Israel and Hamas for their roles in the crisis. Addressing the situation, he claimed to reporters that his speech had been distorted. “I am shocked by misrepresentations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas.”