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UN Security Council Bows to US Influence, Sidesteps Demand for Israel-Palestine Ceasefire

Published December 25, 2023
7 months ago

In a critical session that has international attention riveted, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution that conspicuously sidesteps the essential requirement of a ceasefire between Israeli forces and Palestinian factions in Gaza. Heavily influenced by the United States, the resolution, void of direct calls to stop hostilities, portends a grim outlook for peace while underlining the urgency for humanitarian aid amidst an ongoing violent confrontation.

The outcome of the resolution reflects the United States' prevailing impact on the Security Council's decision-making process. Abstaining from the vote alongside Russia, the US maneuvered to prevent the adoption of a more forceful stance that might necessitate an immediate suspension of hostilities by Israel. Despite the overwhelming vote of 13 in favor of the compromised resolution, the leverage held by the US was evident as it successfully deflected Moscow's amendment proposal, which aimed to incorporate language supporting a break in military engagement.

With over 20,000 Palestinian casualties, predominantly children and women, the scope of the resolution is distressingly narrow. It calls for vague "urgent steps" that invite safe humanitarian access but lacks specification and firm direction. The insistence on facilitating humanitarian assistance rings hollow against the backdrop of Israel's relentless offensive, which curtails the possibility of any immediate, safe, and unhindered delivery of support to the besieged population.

Notwithstanding assurances regarding fuel access and the deployment of a UN overseer for aid provision, the oversight and control remain firmly in Israeli hands, with no significant policy or operational shifts mandated by the new resolution. Previous drafts had indicated the potential for a UN-regulated inspection regime that might have offset Israel's stringent border controls, but such propositions were eventually excised from the final resolution.

This recent UN resolution lays bare the disparities in power within the Security Council and the capacity of the US to shape outcomes that deflect from its political discomfort. Arab council members like the UAE, embodying the Arab perspective in negotiations, were ultimately sidelined as the US dictated the terms. The council's surrender under the influence of US diplomacy marks not only a failure to stand by the proposed early draft resolution and the urgent need for ceasefire but also a strategic decision to avoid provoking US ire.

Far from representing a diplomatic triumph, the security council's retreat indicates a deliberate choice to prioritize political alignments over immediate humanitarian and peacekeeping needs. The Palestinian civilians, whose lives hang precariously in the balance, emerge as the unequivocal casualties of this restricted form of international diplomacy, where facilitation of aid trumps the pressing imperative for ceasefire.

The UN's converging role as a facilitator of humanitarian aid while simultaneously abstaining from enforcing or advocating for direct conflict resolution measures raises questions about its effectiveness in upholding peace and security. As the strife in Gaza continues to exact a devastating toll on human life, the global community looks on, still awaiting concrete action that could potentially save thousands and foster a sustainable peace.

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