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May 29, 2024

UN Security Council Passes Resolution to Increase Aid to Gaza

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Dec 23, 2023

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution to accelerate aid delivery to Gaza after over a week of contentious debate and multiple delays. The resolution, which was approved by 14 members with the US and Russia abstaining, calls for an “expedited” flow of humanitarian aid and building materials but makes no mention of an immediate ceasefire or investigations into alleged war crimes.

Background of the Conflict

The recent escalation began in early October when Israel launched a military operation in Gaza in response to a rocket attack by Palestinian militants. What followed was over two months of intense fighting that has left hundreds dead and caused immense destruction across Gaza. Efforts by Egypt and others to broker a ceasefire have so far failed to take hold.

Throughout the conflict, Gaza’s humanitarian situation has severely deteriorated. Years of blockade, recent fighting, and restricted access for aid groups have left basic supplies lacking and key infrastructure damaged. The UN has warned that potable water, food, and medicine are urgently needed to prevent a deepening crisis.

Previous Votes Blocked

Last week, the Security Council attempted three times to vote on a resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates calling for an immediate ceasefire, unfettered aid access, and accountability investigations. However, these initial resolutions were blocked by single-country vetoes from the United States.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield argued the previous resolutions failed to address the “root causes” of the crisis and did not reflect the proper balance between Israel’s security concerns and Palestinian needs. She also emphasized any long-term solution requires the demilitarization of Gaza.

Many Council members and humanitarian groups harshly criticized the American vetoes, accusing the US of prioritizing support for Israel over humanitarian imperatives.

Revised Resolution’s Key Components

The resolution approved Friday has been significantly watered down from previous versions to finally gain US support. It focuses narrowly on humanitarian aid and avoids explicit references to investigations, ceasefires, or the root causes cited by American officials.

Key components include:

  • Expedited and unconditional delivery of humanitarian aid and building materials.
  • Emphasis on meeting critical food, water, health, and shelter needs.
  • Avoiding supply route disruptions and border crossing closures.
  • Urging expanded aid funding from donor countries.

The approved text does incorporate some American demands, including language on the need to prevent arms smuggling and “terrorist” attacks against civilians.

Abstentions and Reactions

While welcoming the aid provisions, the abstaining countries faulted the resolution for not going far enough.

Russia’s Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy slammed last-minute US edits allowing Israel to close Gaza border crossings. He argued this “dangerous element” gives Israel pretext to further collective punishment.

Germany said investigations and accountability were vital for long-term reconciliation. It abstained because the text lacked concrete steps toward a sustainable political solution.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International agreed the purely humanitarian focus fell short of what was needed to address root causes and ensure proper accountability.

In contrast, Israel welcomed the US shift to allow the vote after its “principled stand” against previous drafts. But Israeli officials still argue the text is imbalanced and should have included disarmament requirements.

What Comes Next?

  • More aid is now likely to reach Gaza in coming weeks per the Security Council mandate. However, the scope and speed of improved access remains uncertain.

  • Israel claims no ceasefire talks are actively taking place. Without progress on that front, periodic flare-ups seem inevitable.

  • There is currently no clear path to resume stalled Egyptian-led mediation efforts. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas also remain divided on diplomatic strategy.

  • Accountability through formal war crimes investigations appears even more unlikely in the near future given the watered-down resolution.

So while urgently needed humanitarian relief should now accelerate, the Security Council action lacks mechanisms to deliver a lasting ceasefire or address root causes prolonging the Israel-Gaza conflict. Absent renewed mediation progress, more violence and instability sadly appears inevitable.

Date Key Event
Early October 2023 Israel launches major military offensive in Gaza called “Operation Dawn”
December 2022 UN warns situation in Gaza dire with over 500,000 facing hunger
December 15 Security Council first attempts to vote on UAE ceasefire resolution. US vetoes.
December 16 Second vote attempt blocked by another US veto
December 19 Third vote try fails after US objects to provision on war crimes investigations
December 23 Revised resolution narrowly focused on humanitarian aid passes 14-0-2, with US and Russia abstaining
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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