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Home / News / How is today’s UN Security Council Gaza vote different?

How is today’s UN Security Council Gaza vote different?


The UN Security Council, the UN’s most powerful body, is due to vote today on a new resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages by Hamas.

But we’ve been here many times before. On three occasions, the US has vetoed such resolutions. On another occasion, it abstained – allowing the resolution to pass, but refusing to give its own backing.

So why would today be any different?

Firstly, there’s no chance of an American veto, because this is a US-drafted resolution.

And, secondly, it’s a direct reflection of the three-phase plan that US President Joe Biden put on the table at the end of last month – for a ceasefire, hostage deal, a surge in humanitarian aid and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

In other words, this is an attempt by the United States to get the Security Council’s seal of approval for a deal it has already struck on the ground, and the US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said as much.

“Numerous leaders and governments, including in the region, have endorsed this plan and we call on the Security Council to join them in calling for implementation of this deal without delay and without further conditions,” she said.

But there has already been a delay, of over a week. Other Security Council members have laid out their objections to the text.

Veto-wielding members – Russia and China – as well as Algeria, the only Arab nation on the Council, didn’t like the original wording, which only called on Hamas to accept the deal.

Other diplomats wanted to clear up confusion about whether Israel had indeed actually accepted Mr Biden’s plan, since the original draft text did not make that clear.

Over the weekend, the US mission worked with the other 14 council members to come up new wording.

The most recent text “welcomes the new ceasefire proposal announced on May 31, which Israel accepted, calls upon Hamas to also accept it, and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition”.

In response to requests from other Security Council diplomats, the latest text also lays out the three phases of the US proposal.

The first phase is an “immediate, full and complete ceasefire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded…the exchange of Palestinian prisoners”.

The second phase would be a permanent end to hostilities in exchange for all remaining hostages and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

The final phase is the start of a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza.

Crucially, the draft text also rejects “any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip, including any actions that reduce the territory of Gaza”.

The Security Council has been unable to reach agreement on a ceasefire in Gaza since the war began eight months ago.

The US has repeatedly vetoed resolutions drafted by other Council members.

China and Russia have also used their vetoes to block US-backed resolutions and it’s possible they will do the same today.

In March, the US abstained, allowing one resolution calling for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan to pass. But it had no effect on the ground.

US diplomats hope that today’s vote will lend weight to their negotiations in the region. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Egypt today and is due to travel on to Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

“Israel has accepted this proposal and the Security Council has an opportunity to speak with one voice and call on Hamas to do the same,” spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN, Nate Evans, said in a statement issued late last night.

“Doing so would help save lives and the suffering of civilians in Gaza as well as the hostages and their families. Council Members should not let this opportunity pass by and must speak with one voice in support of this deal,” he said.


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