July 13, 2024

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UN Security Council Rejects Russian Resolution on Middle East Violence

The United Nations Security Council on Monday declined to support a Russian resolution condemning the escalating violence in the Middle East, with many delegates refusing to back the motion, which did not explicitly single out Hamas for its surprise attack on Israel, resulting in the deaths of over 1,400 people.

The council convened as Israel prepared for an expected ground assault on the Gaza Strip, following a series of air and artillery strikes that have caused the reported deaths of at least 2,750 individuals. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel on Wednesday was announced by the White House, highlighting the challenge of balancing support for a key ally with calls for restraint in its operations in Gaza.

Only four countries voted in favour of Russia’s proposed text, while four others, including the United States, voted against it, and six countries abstained. Another text with unequivocal language condemning the Islamist group Hamas, proposed by Brazil, seemed to have broader support and was anticipated to be put to a vote on Tuesday evening.

Although the Russian resolution failed to gain traction, Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, noted that it had prompted the Security Council to initiate a substantive discussion on the topic. “It has contributed to launching a substantive discussion in the Security Council on this topic. Without our encouragement, everything would probably have been limited to empty discussions,” he stated.

Israel’s Gilad Erdan argued that the Security Council, which has not passed a resolution on the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories since 2016, was at “one of its most pivotal crossroads.” He called on the council to designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation and questioned whether the council would support the fight for civilization or incentivize jihadists who aim to murder non-believers.

Israel has cut off water and power supplies to Gaza and urged over a million people in the north of the densely populated enclave to evacuate. The UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees has warned of an impending “unprecedented human catastrophe” if essential supplies, including water, are not restored to the Gaza Strip.