UN Security Council still at loggerheads over pause versus ceasefire after Gaza meet

UAE says all on council ‘fully engaged’ after two-hour meeting fails to produce agreement as war enters second month, with US saying it will continue to push for humanitarian pause

United Nations Security Council vote on a new US resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, which was vetoed with Russia voting against, October 25, 2023, at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
United Nations Security Council vote on a new US resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, which was vetoed with Russia voting against, October 25, 2023, at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council on Monday failed again to agree on a resolution on the monthlong Israel-Hamas war.

Despite more than two hours of closed-door discussions on Monday, differences remained, as the US is calling for “humanitarian pauses” while many other council members are demanding a “humanitarian ceasefire” to deliver desperately needed aid and prevent additional civilian deaths in Gaza.

“We talked about humanitarian pauses and we’re interested in pursuing language on that score,” US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters after the meeting. “But there are disagreements within the council about whether that’s acceptable.”

In recent days, the US has been pushing for a humanitarian pause in Gaza to allow more aid to enter the blockaded enclave and help secure the release of the hostages held there by terror groups while preventing Hamas from using the temporary cessations to its advantage.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier Monday told reporters he wanted an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and a halt to the “spiral of escalation” already taking place from the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Yemen.

Guterres said international humanitarian law, which demands the protection of civilians and infrastructure essential for their lives, is clearly being violated and stressed that “no party to an armed conflict is above” these laws. He called for the immediate unconditional release of the hostages Hamas took from Israel to Gaza in a deadly onslaught last month.

From left, Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, and Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem, browse the Yad Vashem Book of Names of Holocaust Victims Exhibit, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

On October 7, some 3,000 Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel via the land, air and sea, and launched the deadliest attack in Israel’s history. The attackers killed 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Many were slaughtered in their homes with their families, and 260 people were mowed down at an outdoor rave. At least 240 were taken as hostages, of whom just four have been released and one rescued.

Israel vowed in response to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip, where the terror group has ruled since 2007, and launched heavy airstrikes aimed at destroying their infrastructure, as well as the first ground operation since 2014.

China, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, and the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the council, called Monday’s meeting because of the “crisis of humanity” in Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry has claimed that more than 10,000 people have been killed in less than a month.

The numbers presented by the Gaza health ministry cannot be verified by independent bodies, however, and are believed to include members of Hamas as well as civilians killed by misfired rockets that fell within the Strip.

Following the failure to pass a resolution, UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said all 15 council members “are fully engaged” and efforts will continue to try to narrow the gaps and reach an agreement on a resolution.

While the UN Security Council has twice failed to pass a resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on October 28 that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza without mentioning Hamas, drawing praise from the Islamist terror group and condemnation from Israel.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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