• Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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Israeli-Hamas: UN Security Council to consider resolution on ceasefire

Israel vs Hamas: What’s the best way to resolve the conflict?

The UN Security Council is expected to consider a draft resolution led by Brazil, calling for humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict at the Gaza Strip.

The council had on Monday in its first intervention in the Gaza crisis voted down a resolution led by Russia, calling for humanitarian ceasefire.

In spite of the setback, diplomatic efforts are in full swing as ambassadors prepare to consider another text on the unprecedented crisis.

The 15-member body that oversees peace and security issues, is expected to decide on a second draft resolution, led by Brazil.

While it does not officially represent the position of the council until adopted, the proposal aims to mitigate existing humanitarian suffering, establish corridors for safe aid delivery, and protect UN and other humanitarian workers struggling to provide life-saving aid to the people of Gaza.

Read also: Israel requests $10bn in emergency assistance from U.S. – Reports

While both texts seek a humanitarian pause, there are key differences, including reportedly over the major point of contention in the Russian draft – explicit mention of the extremist group Hamas which controls Gaza.

Russia’s ambassador told the emergency meeting on Monday that Western powers opposing its resolution had “stomped” on hopes of de-escalation, while the U.S. ambassador said that in failing to condemn Hamas, Russia was “giving cover to a terrorist group that brutalises innocent civilians.”

In the hope of agreeing on unified action – never more important than during a time of international crisis – ambassadors usually seek to build support through resolutions, laying out a clear path.

Rival or parallel drafts of resolutions are common, leaving delegations to hammer out the details and soften the edges, often behind closed doors.

If common positions can’t be reached, the draft goes for a vote, where it either passes, or – as on Monday night – is rejected.

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Meanwhile, UN officials continue to engage with all actors involved in the widening crisis, to de-escalate tensions, establish safe zones, and provide essential aid and medical support to those in urgent need.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to arrive in Egypt on Thursday to meet President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and others.

World leaders are also making appeals to de-escalate, with the White House announcing President Joe Biden’s high stakes visit to Israel and Jordan beginning Wednesday, in a show of solidarity with partners in the region.

UN and other humanitarian agencies have worked round the clock to preposition aid since the latest war between Israel and Hamas broke out following the militant group’s surprise Oct. 7 attack on several locations inside Israel, and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war.

Thousands have reportedly been killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee south inside Gaza, where the southern frontier remains closed so far to vital aid.

UN staff, primarily with the Palestine refugees agency (UNRWA), as well as medical personnel and aid workers, have also lost their lives.

Read also: Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah killed in Israel-Hamas conflict

Concerns loom over the potential for the violence to spill over into neighbouring countries, destabilising the entire region – and beyond.