New Delhi: Two days after a Russian resolution failed to muster requisite votes, another resolution drafted by Brazil to call for humanitarian “pauses” to supply aid to Gaza, bit the dust in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday after being vetoed by the United States.
The Brazilian draft resolution got ‘yes’ votes from 12 out of the 15 members of the Council, with Russia and the UK abstaining. The US wielded its veto to stop the resolution from being adopted.
In her explanation of the vote, US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she vetoed the resolution because President Joe Biden was in Israel and “we need that diplomacy to play out”. She also said that the draft resolution did not mention Israel’s right to self-defence.
It was the 87th time that the US had cast a veto in the UNSC. More than half of them, 47 vetoes, were related to issues in the West Asian region.
The UN General Assembly will now have to convene in a formal meeting to discuss the veto cast by the US within ten days. This mandate stems from a UNGA resolution introduced by Western nations and ratified in April 2022, after Russian veto had prevented the Security Council from taking any action after the invasion of Ukraine.
Amid escalating tensions in the Israel-Palestine conflict, two draft resolutions were shared among members of the UNSC.
The Russian draft resolution was presented on Monday night but fell short of the nine votes needed for adoption. Only four countries – China, the United Arab Emirates, Mozambique, and Gabon – voted in favour, while six countries abstained. The US, Britain, France, and Japan opted for abstention.
On Wednesday morning, the Brazilian draft resolution was submitted to the Council. It had undergone significant language revisions proposed by the United Arab Emirates, France, and the UK since the initial draft circulated on October 13.
According to Security Council Report, the initial draft text condemned the “terrorist attack by Hamas”, which was changed to a much stronger “unequivocally reject[ing] and condemn[ing] the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas” and the taking of civilian hostages” in the final text.
Similarly, the call for “an immediate ceasefire” was removed and the resolution only called for the establishment of “humanitarian pauses” in the violence. The mention of Israel in connection with the demand for immediate withdrawal of the October 13 order for Palestinians in North Gaza to leave their homes was also toned down.
US vetoes Security Council resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza
Favor: 12 (Albania, Brazil, China, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland,UAE)
Against: 1 (US)
Abstain: 2 Russia, UK pic.twitter.com/y4tiAbRMUQ
— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) October 18, 2023
After the UNSC assembled in New York this morning, Russia tabled two amendments to the draft resolution, which asked for language calling for full ceasefire, stopping attacks on civilians and lifting the blockade. Both of them failed as they failed to get the nine votes required as per guidelines.
The sole Arab member of the UNSC, the UAE, said that the sufferings in Gaza made a mockery of international law. The UAE had normalised ties with Israel after signing the Abraham accords.
It had strongly condemned Hamas for the incursion which killed hundreds of Israelis on October 7. But, it has also pointed fingers at Israel for being behind the explosion at Al Ahli hospital on Tuesday night which killed hundreds of Palestinians sheltering inside from Israeli airstrikes.
After the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Wednesday, the UAE warned that the hope generated by the Abraham Accords was seriously threatened by the Gaza carnage.
Expressing “shock” at the US veto, China said that the US delegation had not expressed opposition to Brazil’s draft during the negotiations and had expected it to pass.
International NGO Human Rights Watch criticised the US for “cynically” deploying their veto once more “to prevent the UN Security Council from acting on Israel and Palestine at a time of unprecedented carnage”.