The UN Security Council passed its first resolution related to Israel’s war in Gaza on Wednesday that calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza to allow aid and other assistance to reach Palestinian civilians.
The resolution passed in a vote of 12-0, with the US, the UK, and Russia all abstaining from voting. The US and the UK didn’t vote in favor of the measure because it didn’t condemn Hamas, and Russia abstained because it believed the Security Council should be calling for a real ceasefire.
The resolution also calls for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access.”
According to AP, the resolution’s language was watered down. The initial draft said the Security Council “demands” pauses and the release of hostages, which was changed to “calls.”
Despite the watered-down language, Israel slammed the resolution. Israel’s deputy representative to the UN, Brett Jonathan Miller, said the resolution was “detached from the reality on the ground” and “falls on deaf ears when it comes to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield criticized the resolution because it did not condemn the October 7 Hamas attack. The US previously vetoed a similar resolution calling for humanitarian pauses and voted against one that called for a ceasefire.
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s representative at the UN, asked for an amendment before the vote to include “an immediate durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities,” but the idea was rejected.
The resolution was sponsored by Malta, but Nebenzia blamed the US for striking the term “ceasefire” from the resolution during negotiations. The Biden administration has refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, only short pauses.
The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, also said the resolution should call for a real ceasefire. He said the Security Council should “have heeded the call by the UN and every humanitarian organization on Earth calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.”