In the midst of the conflict between Israel and Gaza, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met in close door for an emergency session, but it was unable to reach the required level of unanimity for a unified statement.
Since Hamas, the Palestinian organisation in charge of the blockaded Gaza Strip, attacked Israeli cities on Saturday and kidnapped hundreds of people, at least 1,100 people have already died.
In retaliation, Israel proclaimed war, bombarded the heavily populated Gaza Strip, and hundreds of Palestinians were killed. And it was reported that the 15 members of the council were urged by the United States to harshly denounce Hamas.
When UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland briefed the council during its roughly 90-minute meeting, diplomat members led by Russia were hoping for a more inclusive agenda than just denouncing Hamas. And he said that a statement needed to be agreed upon by consensus. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s UN ambassador, said, “My message was to stop the fighting immediately and to go to a ceasefire and to meaningful negotiations, which was told for decades” by the Security Council. This is partly the result of unresolved issues.”
In a historic 2020 agreement, the United Arab Emirates, which restored diplomatic ties with Israel, stated that additional UNSC discussions on the subject were anticipated. The UAE Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, said “I think everyone understands that today, the situation is one of grave concern.” “Many members of the Council believe that a political horizon leading to a two-state solution is the only way to finally solve this conflict,” she said.
Meanwhile, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), based in the West Bank and a political rival to Hamas, were not attending the meeting because they are currently on the Security Council.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador, called on diplomats to concentrate on ending the Israeli occupation. “Regrettably, history for some media and politicians starts when Israelis are killed,” he said.
“This is not a time to let Israel double down on its terrible choices. This is a time to tell Israel it needs to change course, that there is a path to peace where neither Palestinians nor Israelis are killed.”
Three Palestinian human rights Organisations in an open letter sent to UNSC members ahead of the meeting, said, the UN’s inaction had enabled the latest violence and meant its members were “complicit” in what had happened. The Palestine-based Organisations – Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – called on UN member states to address the “root causes and protect the Palestinian people from Israeli attacks”.
The Gaza Strip, which has a population of about 2 million and is about 365 sq km (141 sq miles) in size, has been governed by Hamas since 2007 following a brief conflict with PA-aligned troops.
Its attack on Israel comes as US-backed efforts are being made to persuade Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with Israel in exchange for a defence agreement between Washington and Riyadh.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA.