BY ALEX BALUKU
Baluku is a distinguished Fellow of the Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists, currently reporting from the United States of America on the 78th UN General Assembly. With a keen eye for global affairs and a commitment to delivering insightful coverage of UN activities, Baluku brings a unique perspective to the world of international journalism.
The United Nations Security Council convened for a crucial vote on rival draft resolutions concerning the Israel-Gaza conflict, shifting the focus to humanitarian aspects, yet the passage of either resolution remained uncertain. These drafts were submitted by Russia and Brazil, seeking to address the dire humanitarian situation in the region.
The adoption of a resolution requires at least nine votes from the council’s 15 members, with no vetoes from the five permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States.
Historically, the United States has staunchly defended its ally, Israel, against any Security Council actions. A spokesperson from the U.S. mission to the United Nations refrained from commenting on the upcoming votes.
Russia’s draft proposal calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, while Brazil’s draft emphasizes humanitarian pauses to facilitate access for aid. Both resolutions unequivocally condemn violence against civilians, acts of terrorism, and demand the release of hostages.
Interestingly, the Brazilian draft takes a step further by condemning the Palestinian militant group Hamas for its attacks on Israel, an element omitted in the Russian draft. The recent attack by Hamas on October 7 is a point of contention. Without directly naming Israel, the Brazilian resolution calls for the revocation of Israel’s order that compelled civilians and United Nations staff in the northern Gaza Strip to relocate to the south.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador, expressed confidence in their draft, believing it better addresses the urgent humanitarian needs of the civilian population in Gaza while steering clear of political elements that could divide Security Council members, potentially undermining the body’s role in resolving the crisis.
As the conflict escalates, Israel remains committed to neutralizing Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, following a series of devastating attacks. Israeli forces have launched a relentless and intense bombardment of Gaza while imposing a total blockade. According to Gaza authorities, the death toll has surpassed 2,750 people.
Despite diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire, negotiations have faltered, leaving foreign passport holders stranded and Gaza in dire need of humanitarian aid. The United Nations is now faced with the daunting challenge of addressing this protracted and devastating crisis, with two rival resolutions highlighting the complex dynamics of the Israel-Gaza conflict.