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U.N. Security Council Passes Gaza Humanitarian Aid Resolution as US abstains

NEW YORK: The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Friday calling for a boost in international humanitarian aid to Gaza after days of diplomatic negotiations to avoid a US veto.


The resolution calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access.” It also expressed "grave concerns as to the impact the resumption of hostilities has had on civilians."


Both Russia and the US abstained from voting and let the resolution passed down with the unanimous support from the rest of the 13 Security Council members including the permanent members France, China, and United Kingdom.


Palestine’s ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour welcomed the resolution and called it “a step in the right direction.” He further added “It must be implemented and must be accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate ceasefire. I repeat, immediate ceasefire.” On the other hand, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan showed displeasure over the resolution in a statement after the vote, that “The UN focus solely on Gaza's aid mechanisms is unnecessary and disconnected from reality.” Further, he thanked the Biden government “for standing firmly on Israel’s side throughout the negotiations.”


The vote on the resolution, which was supposed to be held on Monday, was delayed for four days in hopes of avoiding a U.S. veto. In the end, after a week of tense wrangling on yielded text, the US decided to not vote on the resolution, as the early draft of the resolution called for “an urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The language called for a cease-fire was changed to call for “urgent steps” instead to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and “create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”


United Arab Emirates ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, who drafted the resolution, said after the vote that the resolution “is not a perfect text.” She further added, “We know only a cease-fire will stop the suffering.”


The resolution also demanded that all parties of the Security Council allow and facilitate the use of all available routes to the Gaza Strip for the provision of humanitarian assistance. It further requested the U.N. secretary-general to appoint a coordinator to establish a mechanism for accelerating the delivery of aid with the expectation of implementation within 20 days.


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