UN Security Council Vote Today


The vote on a resolution urging a lasting halt to hostilities at the UN Security Council has been delayed to allow more time to address objections from the United States regarding the wording of the draft. Originally scheduled for Monday afternoon in New York, the vote faced opposition from the US, citing an inability to endorse a reference to a cessation of hostilities. However, there was openness to considering a suspension of hostilities. The Arab nations involved in the negotiations expressed optimism, interpreting the US stance as an indication that the White House was actively seeking mutually acceptable language, rather than outright vetoing resolutions—a departure from its positions on a humanitarian pause on October 18 and an urgent humanitarian ceasefire on December 9.

Disagreements within the US administration are escalating, with certain officials asserting that the United States underestimates the depth of discontent in the Global South due to perceived American hypocrisy. Critics argue that while the US condemns Russian war crimes in Ukraine, it appears to provide numerous justifications for the extensive casualties in Gaza during the conflict with Palestinians.

Several US diplomats have traveled to Jerusalem in an effort to persuade the Israeli government to alter its military strategies, but their success has been limited. If the United States were to endorse a suspension of hostilities at the UN, it would serve as a clear signal of frustration with the Israeli government's approach.

The United States has previously opposed ceasefires proposed in the 15-member Security Council, citing the lack of explicit condemnation of Hamas for its involvement in the killing of over 1,000 Israelis, including numerous women and children on October 7. The most recent draft, put forth by the United Arab Emirates, condemns all acts of terrorism and calls for the unconditional release of all hostages.

Following the UN General Assembly's vote on December 12, where 153 countries voted in favor, 10 opposed, and 23 abstained, urging an immediate halt to hostilities, pressure has intensified on the US. It's worth noting that unlike Security Council votes, permanent members cannot wield their veto power in General Assembly decisions.

While General Assembly votes represent global opinions, they lack the legally binding nature associated with Security Council resolutions, and in practice, many resolutions are disregarded. The United States' sense of isolation during the General Assembly echoes the isolation Russia faced at the Assembly the previous year following the invasion of Ukraine.

In an effort to garner support from the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, the draft resolution initially presented on Monday advocated for a sustainable ceasefire, aligning with the terminology he had used in a recent article co-authored with his German counterpart. This wording aimed to facilitate a shift for the UK from its previous position of abstention during the Security Council's discussion on the matter to a positive vote in favor.

On certain Middle East matters, the UK has, at times, supported resolutions initially opposed by the US. A notable instance was in January 2009, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown instructed the UK envoy to endorse a UN ceasefire resolution after 13 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The UK's position played a role in prompting the US to shift from opposition to abstention.

A UN call for a suspension of hostilities, coupled with other components of the resolution, would exert pressure on Israel to facilitate the substantial entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza through various means—by land, sea, and air. The resolution envisions establishing a monitoring process to address obstacles preventing aid from reaching Gaza.

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