Israel Palestine Conflict

UN vote postponed on demand for Gaza humanitarian ceasefire

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A UN Security Council vote on a demand for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war was delayed by several hours on Friday until after a planned meeting between Arab ministers and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The 15-member council had been due to vote on a brief draft resolution on Friday morning, but it was delayed at the request of the United Arab Emirates, which put forward the text with the support of Arab and Organization of Islamic Cooperation states.

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To be adopted, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France or Britain. The US has said it does not support any further action by the council at this time.

The council was now scheduled to vote at 5.30 p.m. (2230 GMT) - just after Blinken was due to meet in Washington with ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey.

The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire in the war in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The renewed push for a ceasefire was made by Arab states after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the Security Council of a global threat from the war. Guterres, who has repeatedly called for a humanitarian ceasefire, was due to brief the council on Friday.

The US offered substantial amendments to the UAE-drafted text, including a condemnation of “the terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel, including those on 7 October 2023.” It was not added to the text to be voted on Friday.

The draft was amended to say both “the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law” and to “demand the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 240 people taken hostage during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. Israel has focused its retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, bombarding it from the air, imposing a siege and launching a ground assault.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says that so far 17,487 people have been killed. The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes.

With Reuters

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