UN Struggles to Agree on Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

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UN Struggles to Agree on Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

The United Nations Security Council has delayed voting on a resolution calling for a pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The vote has been pushed back to Wednesday as countries argue over the wording.

Some members don’t want the resolution to use the term “ceasefire.” Israel and its ally the United States are against that term. So, the council is debating whether to call for a “pause,” “truce” or “humanitarian ceasefire” instead.

Earlier this month, the US blocked a similar resolution demanding an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza. Last week, the UN General Assembly passed the same resolution with a big majority. Encouraged by this, Arab countries proposed a new ceasefire resolution at the Security Council. 

A draft resolution calls for an “urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities to allow unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.” But a new version now just calls for the “urgent suspension of hostilities” to allow aid.

The current draft does not name Hamas. Instead it “firmly” condemns “all indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects” and “all acts of terrorism.” 

A senior UN official said Israel’s steps to allow aid into Gaza so far are “far short of what is needed.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Israel is “ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid to enable the release of hostages.” 

The US said it “would welcome a resolution that fully supports addressing the humanitarian needs” in Gaza. But “the details of it very much do matter,” the State Department said. 

Since the fighting started, the Security Council has faced criticism for only adopting one resolution calling for temporary ceasefires to allow aid into Gaza. Five other drafts were rejected, two due to US vetoes. 

US President Joe Biden has warned Israel it risks losing support over its “indiscriminate” attacks on Gaza. Israel has continued heavy airstrikes since Hamas attacked on October 7, which Israel says killed around 1,140 people. Hamas says 19,667 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have now died.

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