UN Security Council passes resolution to boost humanitarian aid access to Gaza

World Saturday 23/December/2023 17:30 PM
By: Xinhua
UN Security Council passes resolution to boost humanitarian aid access to Gaza

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Friday passed a key resolution, emphasising the immediate acceleration of aid deliveries to the distressed civilians in Gaza, but without the original call for an "urgent suspension of hostilities" between Israel and Hamas.

Resolution 2720 demands parties to the conflict "allow, facilitate and enable the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip, and in this regard calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities."

The resolution demands that the parties to the conflict "allow and facilitate the use of all available routes to and throughout the entire Gaza Strip," and requests the UN secretary-general to "appoint a senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator" with responsibility for facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying in Gaza, as appropriate, the humanitarian nature of all humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza provided through states which are not party to the conflict.

The text demands the "immediate and unconditional release of all hostages," as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address medical needs of all hostages, and demands the provision of fuel to Gaza at levels that will meet requisite humanitarian needs.

The resolution reiterates its "unwavering commitment" to the vision of the "two-state solution" where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders, consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions, and in this regard stresses the importance of "unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority."

The proposed resolution, presented by the United Arab Emirates, garnered support from 13 council members, while the United States and Russia opted to abstain from the vote within the 15-member council.

The vote followed a US veto of a Russian amendment that would have restored the call for a "suspension of hostilities."

Speaking after the vote, Dai Bing, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the United Nations, told the Security Council that given the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the resolution offers "at least a glimmer of hope" for more and faster delivery of aid to Gaza.

He added that "whether this glimmer of hope can be truly felt by the people of Gaza in the midst of this disaster also depends on whether the resolution can be effectively implemented."

"We expect action to expand humanitarian assistance in Gaza, including by the full use of Karem Shalom and the opening of other crossing points," the ambassador said, while urging Israel to stop its collective punishment of the population of Gaza and insisting that realization of a ceasefire remains the overriding goal.

Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of the Observer State of Palestine to the United Nations, said after the vote that the Security Council first met to address the crisis when hundreds of Palestinians had been killed by Israel.

"The council is now meeting after over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, almost half of them children and 60,000 wounded, and two million Palestinians have been forcefully displaced," he said.

Mansour underscored that the "inhumane and criminal Israeli siege" and the use of vital humanitarian "as a method of war" must end immediately.

"What we are dealing with is an attempt at the destruction of our people and their displacement forever from their land," he said, adding "this is Israel's goal, its true objective, no future for Palestinians in Palestine."

Noting that "death is everywhere" in Gaza, Mansour said that the resolution is intended to alleviate the untold suffering and pain being borne by civilians. He welcomed the provision to establish a UN mechanism to accelerate the provision of humanitarian relief consignments and call for its rapid implementation.

"This resolution is a step in the right direction. It must be implemented and must be accompanied by massive pressure for an immediate ceasefire," he said.

The latest vote on the resolution came after a four-day delay, driven by hopes of averting a US veto.

Ultimately, after a week of tense negotiations, a revised text emerged that the United States had indicated it would not oppose as of Thursday night.

The original language, which called for an immediate ceasefire, was substituted with a call for "urgent steps" to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and "create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities."

On Dec. 8, the United States exercised its veto power to block a Security Council resolution that had called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The same resolution secured passage on the UN General Assembly floor with overwhelming support, garnering 153 votes in favor and only 10 against. In a separate instance, a resolution advocating for "humanitarian pauses" was approved by the Security Council in November, with the United States choosing to abstain from voting.