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Security Council Urged To ‘End The Bloodshed’ In Gaza


The President of the UN General Assembly appealed on
Monday for “all those with leverage” to use their power
to bring an end to the six-month-long war in
Gaza. 

Dennis Francis convened the UN’s most
representative body, comprising all 193 Member States,
following the Security
Council
’s failure to adopt a resolution put forward by
the United States last month.

The debate was triggered
by a 2022 Assembly resolution
that calls for a meeting to be held within 10 working days
whenever a veto is cast in the Council.

Death,
destruction and division

“Once again, we convene
under this initiative as conflict in Gaza rages into its
sixth bloody month, as death and destruction rule
the day, and as divisions among Member States, especially in
the Council, persist
,” Mr. Francis said.

During
the Security Council meeting on 22 March, China and Russia
vetoed
a US draft resolution which stated the “imperative” for
“an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians
on all sides”, facilitating “essential” aid delivery
and supporting ongoing talks between Israel and Hamas
towards an end to the hostilities, tied to
the release of hostages.

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Russia, China and the US are
permanent members of the 15-member Council, together with
France and the United Kingdom, and they all have the right
to veto any decision. Non-permanent member Algeria
also voted against the resolution
.

Three days
later, the Council adopted a
different resolution – which many had vowed to support –
calling for a ceasefire for the remainder of Ramadan as well
as the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
Resolution
2728
was drafted by its 10 non-permanent
members.

‘End the bloodshed’

Mr. Francis
outlined the terrible toll in Gaza, which includes more than
32,500 Palestinians killed, 1.7 million displaced, and over
1.1 million facing a catastrophic level of food
insecurity.

While welcoming resolution 2728, he
lamented that “it comes after five painful months
of division, bloodshed and unconscionable
loss
.”

Noting that Ramadan ends on Tuesday,
he implored Security Council members to meaningfully use
their power in support of an immediate and lasting
ceasefire.

“I urge all those with leverage to do all
in their power to end the bloodshed in Gaza now.” he
said.

“Let us see the end of the waiting, including
for the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, in line with the two-State solution, as the only
credible formula for lasting resolution.”

Veto
‘the only correct way’: Russia

Russian Deputy
Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyansky said his country
and China vetoed the US draft resolution which “not only
was not geared towards ending hostilities in Gaza, but which
essentially gave Israel carte blanche to continue its
inhumane operations which run counter to international
humanitarian law”.

He pointed to the “historic
responsibility” that permanent members of the Security
Council have regarding the maintenance of international
peace and security, saying “it is specifically for this
that the veto mechanism exists in order to prevent the
pushing through of nefarious and dangerous initiatives” in
the chamber.

He said Russia’s decision to veto
“was the only correct way” as it allowed for the
adoption of the other resolution, “the heart of which was
a direct demand for an immediate establishment of a
ceasefire for the period of Ramadan, which is to result and
lead to a lasting ceasefire.”

Killing would
continue: China

Ambassador Dai Bing of China said its
decision to veto was based on the need to uphold
international justice, the purposes and dignity of the UN
Charter
, and the responsibility and authority of the
Security Council.

The grave concerns and strong
dissatisfaction of Arab States with the draft resolution
were also taken into account.

He noted that since the
start of the war in October, the international community has
been overwhelmingly calling for a ceasefire and an end to
the fighting, demanding the Security Council take concrete
action.

“However, the United States, as a country
with significant influence over the parties concerned, has
repeatedly obstructed the Council’s voice on the ceasefire
and has vetoed four times against the Council’s efforts to
promote an immediate ceasefire,” he
said.

Furthermore, the US draft deviated from the
consensus of Council members and ran counter to the
expectations of the international community.

“If
adopted, it will mean that the killings in Gaza will
continue. It will mean that the vicious act of violating
international law and international humanitarian law will
continue,” he said. “China has no hesitation in exercising
its veto against a draft resolution that will have such
serious consequences.”

Fully implement resolutions:
Palestine

The Permanent Observer of the State of
Palestine, Riyad Mansour, noted that the General Assembly
called for a cessation of hostilities 20 days after the
start of the conflict.

A month later, the Assembly
demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, stressing the
need to protect civilians and stem what was already a dire
humanitarian catastrophe. Meanwhile, the Security Council
took nearly six months to do the same.

“Now these
resolutions need to be fully respected and fully implemented
so the genocide in Gaza can stop; so families on both sides
can reunite in life, not death,” he
said.

Highlighting the devastation, he said Israel has
besieged, bombed, starved and displaced an entire civilian
population.

“Impunity kills,” he said. “If
Israel thought it would be held accountable, it would never
have killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, maimed more than
75,000 and destroyed Gaza north to south.”

Mr.
Mansour urged all countries that provide weapons and
ammunition to Israel to stop doing so.

“Stop arming
Israel. Stop trading with settlements. Hold accountable
those responsible for the massacres, and not the
colonization – not only individuals, but those responsible
at the highest level for these illegal and inhumane
policies.”

No condemnation for Hamas:
Israel

Annihilation of the Jews has been the goal of
the Palestinians since well before the establishment of the
UN or Israel, said the country’s Ambassador, Gilad
Erdan.

While the UN was created in the wake of the
Second World War to prevent atrocities such as the
Holocaust, “the same genocidal ideology that this body was
founded to combat is still prevalent among the
Palestinians,” he added.

Mr. Erdan said the Hamas
attacks on 7 October were the most heinous and widespread
massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Entire families were
wiped out, peaceful communities reduced to ash, Israeli
women raped, and over 250 hostages seized and taken to
Gaza.

Yet, the General Assembly was meeting not to
condemn Hamas or their atrocities, but because certain
Security Council members “refused to even accept a
condemnation to child murdering rapists and they vetoed
it,” he said.

“Six months have passed since the
massacre and not a single UN body…has even condemned
Hamas, and not even one meeting has been dedicated to our
hostages,” he remarked. “It’s insane.”

USA
rejects ‘petty politics’

Ambassador Robert Wood
said the draft US resolution was put forward in good faith
and the vast majority of Council members voted in favour of
it.

“Russia and China offered many over-the-top
explanations for their obstruction,” he said. “Rather
than support diplomacy to release the hostages and secure a
ceasefire, they attacked the United States.”

Russia
and China are not engaged in meaningful diplomacy and only
offer lectures, but “worse, they continue to shield
Hamas”, he continued. Furthermore, the claim that the US
did not want a ceasefire was untrue.

“There is no
doubt: the United States supports a ceasefire. And we know
that the way to achieve that is through negotiations to
reach an agreement in which hostages are released,” he
said, adding that talks are ongoing, brokered by Egypt and
Qatar.

The US draft resolution also called for other
critical items, he added. They included strengthening the
mandate of the Senior UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Gaza,
Sigrid Kaag; opening additional crossings for aid, and
immediate measures to fix deconfliction processes as the war
has been among the worst in terms of aid workers
killed.

“The United States rejects Russia and
China’s decision to play petty politics,” he said. “We
will continue efforts to advance peace in the
region.”

He said efforts include remaining at the
negotiating table to enable the release of hostages and a
ceasefire, providing massive support for humanitarian
operations, and continuing to press Israel to take specific
steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and
the safety of aid
workers.

© Scoop Media

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