UN Security Council meets on Gaza-Israel, but fails to agree on statement

US pushes for harsh condemnation of Hamas but fails to achieve the consensus necessary for a statement.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) convened an emergency closed-door session to address the ongoing war between Israel and Gaza. However, the meeting did not yield the unanimity required to issue a joint statement.

Since Hamas, the Palestinian group in control of the besieged Gaza Strip, initiated an assault on Israeli towns on Saturday and took hundreds of hostages, the conflict has resulted in at least 1,100 casualties. The UNSC’s inability to reach a consensus underscores the complexity of the situation and the challenges in finding a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

Following the Palestinian group Hamas’s assault on Israeli towns and the taking of hostages, Israel declared a state of war and launched attacks on densely-populated areas in Gaza, resulting in hundreds of casualties.

The United States called upon the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to strongly condemn Hamas for its actions. Senior US diplomat Robert Wood indicated that while many countries condemned Hamas, unanimity was not achieved, alluding to Russia’s stance on the matter, given its deteriorating relations with the West due to the Ukraine conflict.

During a 90-minute session, the UNSC received a briefing from UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland. Some members, led by Russia, sought a broader focus than merely condemning Hamas. A consensus statement was not reached.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, emphasized the need to stop the fighting immediately, seek a ceasefire, and engage in meaningful negotiations. He noted that the ongoing situation partly resulted from unresolved issues.

The United Arab Emirates, which normalized relations with Israel in a 2020 agreement, expressed its expectation for further UNSC meetings on the crisis and stressed the importance of a two-state solution for lasting peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), based in the West Bank and a political rival to Hamas, did not attend the meeting as they are not currently on the Security Council.

The Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged diplomats to focus on ending the Israeli occupation and emphasized the need for a path to peace that prevents further casualties.

In an open letter to UNSC members, three Palestinian human rights organizations accused the UN of inaction, stating that its members were “complicit” in the ongoing violence and calling on member states to address the root causes and protect the Palestinian people from Israeli attacks.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan presented graphic images of Israeli civilians taken captive by Hamas, describing them as war crimes and emphasizing Israel’s need for support to defend itself.

The Gaza Strip, home to around 2 million people, has been ruled by Hamas since 2007. Its recent assault on Israel coincides with US-backed efforts to encourage Saudi Arabia to normalize ties with Israel in exchange for a defense deal between the US and Riyadh. Israel expressed its willingness to coexist with its neighbors and pursue normalization.

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