United Nations, Oct 25 (EFE).- The UN Security Council failed again in its attempts to stop the war in Gaza, as its members were unable to approve either the United States’ resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” or Russia’s calling for an immediate ceasefire.
These are the third and fourth failed attempts by the Security Council, which shows the depth of the divisions within the Council, split between Russia and China on the one hand and the US on the other, putting the UN’s highest body in a stranglehold.
US resolution vetoed by Russia and China
The US resolution was circulated among members for some days, and Washington had agreed to some amendments to make it less biased in favor of Israel, but at the time of the vote it was opposed by Russia and China (both with veto power) and the United Arab Emirates.
Ten members voted in favor, while Brazil and Mozambique abstained.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield had said in her opening remarks that “this moment is a test for us all: for the international community and for the very Council.” But that test now seems to have been failed, given the body’s inability to produce a minimum consensus text.
Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun objected that the US text did not call for an end to Israel’s “indiscriminate and asymmetric use of force,” that it was “seriously out of balance,” and that it involved such a selective application of international legality and double standards that it only pushed more civilians to their deaths.
Zhang said he used his veto “based on facts, based on law, based on conscience, based on justice.”
The Chinese ambassador regretted that the text did not explicitly call for a cessation of hostilities: “Ceasefire is not a diplomatic term, it means life or death for many civilians,” he said with a forcefulness that is rare in interventions by Chinese representatives.
Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya also criticized the US text, saying it “fails to meet basic standards: it does not call for a cease-fire, does not condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and does not criticize the forced displacement of (Palestinian) populations.”
And on the inclusion of the phrase “the right of states to defend themselves” (which is very important for the USA), the Russian ambassador considered it “inadmissible when we are talking about an occupying power, and that is what Israel is in the Palestinian territories”.
Russia fails for the second time with its own resolution
As it did last week, Russia failed to get the necessary votes to pass its own alternative resolution (nine votes in favor are needed), so the US did not need to exercise its veto power against it: only four countries voted in favor (Russia, China, Emirates and Gabon), the US and the UK voted against, and nine countries abstained, including France.
The US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, criticized the fact that Russia had introduced this new resolution “at the very last minute with zero – zero – consultation”, which in her opinion amounted to acting “in bad faith”.
The Russian text not only called for “an immediate and durable ceasefire” (which the US opposed with various arguments), but also condemned Hamas attacks and “unequivocally condemned the indiscriminate attacks against civilians in the Gaza Strip”.
It also said “rejects the actions to impose the blockade of the Gaza Strip depriving the civilian population of means indispensable for their survival” and “urges the immediate rescission” of the 13 October evacuation order,” a clear criticism of Israel that the US refuses to express.
Significantly, the United Arab Emirates, a country generally allied with the US and in recent dealings with Israel, on Wednesday positioned itself against Washington’s resolution and in favor of Moscow’s, which appears to mark a shift in its foreign policy that reflects the importance that Arab countries are giving to the Palestinian cause since the outbreak of the war in Gaza. EFE