Monday, June 24

Israel-Hamas War: U.N. Security Council Passes Gaza Aid Resolution as U.S. Abstains

The U.N. Security Council resolution on Gaza that passed Friday after several delays and weakened language was met with criticism and dismay by aid groups working in Gaza, who called the agreement “woefully insufficient” and “nearly meaningless” in alleviating the immense human suffering in the territory.

The compromise resolution, negotiated to avoid a veto from the United States, stopped well short of calling for a cease-fire, recommending only that steps be taken “to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

Humanitarian groups immediately responded by sharply criticizing the United States for not supporting calls to end the war, which Gazan authorities say has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians. The United Nations says the war has displaced nearly 1.9 million people — more than 85 percent of the population — who are at risk of both famine and the rampant spread of infectious diseases.

Doctors Without Borders, which has physicians and other staff working in Gaza’s crumbling health care system, said the resolution “falls painfully short” of what is needed.

“This resolution has been watered down to the point that its impact on the lives of civilians in Gaza will be nearly meaningless,” the group’s executive director in the United States, Avril Benoît, said in a statement.

Amnesty International’s secretary general, Agnès Callamard, said in a statement that it was “disgraceful” that the United States had weakened the resolution’s language. While the resolution was needed, she said, it was “woefully insufficient in the face of the ongoing carnage and extensive destruction.”

Human Rights Watch said the United States had watered down the resolution and must ensure that Israel implements the humanitarian measures it calls for. The International Rescue Committee called its failure to demand an immediate and sustained cease-fire “unjustifiable,” and Oxfam’s regional director for the Middle East, Sally Abi-Khalil, labeled it “incomprehensible and utterly callous.”

“It is a profound dereliction of duty from an organization established to uphold the U.N. Charter to maintain peace and protect lives,” Ms. Abi-Khalil said in a statement.

The United States vetoed a resolution calling for a cease-fire earlier in December, saying it agreed with Israel that halting the military offensive in Gaza would allow Hamas’s armed wing to regroup and mount attacks. Throughout intense negotiations in the Security Council this week, the United States stood with Israel, opposing a call for an “urgent suspension of hostilities.”

In the end, the resolution that passed — with Washington abstaining — called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” throughout Gaza for a “sufficient number of days” to allow for increased shipments of aid.

“We have extensively negotiated and tried to find language that meets everyone’s concerns but also addresses this challenge with a practical response,” said Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates ambassador.

The compromise pleased few aside from those who demanded it in the United States and Israel.

Riyad H. Mansour, the U.N.’s Palestinian representative, lamented that it had taken 75 days for the resolution to pass. He said the document was a step in the right direction but fell short. “It must be implemented and must be accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate cease-fire. I repeat, immediate cease-fire,” he said.

Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador, blamed the United States for delaying a vote until the language was watered down. “Ultimately, the wording that is being put to a vote today has been extremely neutered,” he said.

At the same time, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that the U.S. was disappointed and appalled that the final resolution did not condemn the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7, which killed 1,200 people in Israel and sparked the current war.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, echoed that sentiment. That the Security Council has yet to condemn the Oct. 7 attacks, he said, “reveals the irrelevance of the U.N. in relation to the war in Gaza.”

The Israeli military’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, called on the international community to enforce the resolution, which includes a demand for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas and access to them to address their medical needs.

In a statement, Hamas said that the resolution was an “insufficient step” to address the dire situation people in Gaza were facing. It criticized the United States for weakening the resolution’s language and said the Security Council had a duty to get Israel to bring sufficient aid into all parts of the Gaza Strip.

Ephrat Livni contributed reporting.