Which way do UNSC members lean ahead of this crucial decision on an Israel-Hamas ceasefire?

Which way do UNSC members lean ahead of this crucial decision on an Israel-Hamas ceasefire?: Within the UN Security Council, support for a ceasefire has increased, but the US and UK may veto the plan.

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The UN Security Council, which is the most powerful body in the organization, will convene today at 14:00 GMT to examine the conflict in Gaza. This comes after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a unique procedure to invoke Article 99 in order to push for a ceasefire.

At least 1,147 Israelis and 17,177 Palestinians have died in Gaza since October 7. Thousands more people are still missing beneath the ruins of Gaza’s demolished structures.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the sole Arab nation among the 15 members of the UNSC, has pushed for a draft resolution calling for a “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in response to Antonio Guterres’ plea.

What is the new draft resolution?

Which way do UNSC members lean ahead of this crucial decision on an Israel-Hamas ceasefire?  This will be the sixth resolution proposed since the conflict began in an attempt to reach a consensus to stop the killing.

“The situation in the Gaza Strip is catastrophic and close to irreversible,” stated a statement from the UAE representation to the UN. We are impatient. For the Council to demand a humanitarian ceasefire, decisive action is required.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other Arab countries back the proposed resolution.

However, for a resolution to be enacted, it has to get the support of at least nine of the UN Security Council’s fifteen members and none of the Council’s five permanent members—the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK—must veto the proposal.

How have the 15 members voted thus far on issues regarding the Gaza War?

The UNSC is composed of ten non-permanent members chosen every two years by the General Assembly, in addition to the five permanent members who have the power to veto decisions.

Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates are the non-permanent members at the moment.

Throughout the conflict, the UNSC has voted on five resolutions, but has been unable to adopt four of them because of a lack of agreement among the member states.

Gaza

Four of the fifteen members—France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—voted against the initial proposal headed by Russia on October 16. The primary objection to the proposal was that Hamas was neither mentioned nor denounced. A quick ceasefire was demanded in this proposal.

October 18 saw Brazil lead the second draft. Despite the resolution’s overwhelming support and condemnation of Hamas and the need for humanitarian pauses, the US rejected it. According to US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, this is because Israel’s right to self-defence was left out of the resolution.

On October 25, Russia put out another document that demanded the release of Hamas prisoners and a humanitarian truce. The resolution did not, however, denounce Hamas. There were just four votes in favour. The UK stated that the Russian proposal did not uphold Israel’s right to self-defence and that it was in favour of the UNSC working toward a “balanced text.”

On October 25, the US also spearheaded a draft resolution that advocated for a humanitarian halt rather than a ceasefire. Russia and China, two permanent members, blocked the resolution despite ten countries voting in favor of it.

On November 15, the UNSC ultimately approved a resolution spearheaded by Malta that demanded humanitarian pauses and the delivery of assistance to Gaza. Twelve countries voted in favor, with the US, UK, and Russia abstaining.

On October 27, Jordan spearheaded a nonbinding resolution in the UN General Assembly demanding an immediate end to hostilities in Gaza, unrestricted access to humanitarian supplies within the beleaguered enclave, and an end to Israel’s demand for the evacuation of northern Gaza.

The resolution garnered support from 120 countries, including France, while only 14 nations, such as the US and Israel, opposed it. Additionally, 45 countries chose to abstain, leading to the successful passage of the resolution.

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How have United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members positioned themselves regarding appeals for a ceasefire?

  1. Russia, China, Gabon, and Mozambique maintained their support for an immediate ceasefire, casting affirmative votes during Moscow’s proposal on October 16, and have since remained steadfast in their positions.
  2. Driving the latest resolution discussed on Friday, the UAE has advocated for a ceasefire.
  3. On November 15, Brazil’s UN representative affirmed the government’s endorsement of Guterres’ plea for a humanitarian ceasefire. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had also called for a ceasefire.
  4. Malta and Ecuador also endorsed a humanitarian ceasefire at the UN on November 29.
  5. During the November 29 UNSC meeting, the French permanent representative to the UN urged that the brief truce enforced for a week the previous month should become permanent and lead to a ceasefire.
  6. Ghana, Albania, and Switzerland consistently support humanitarian pauses but have not expressed backing for resolutions advocating outright ceasefires.
  7. Japan has consistently voted against calls for a ceasefire while supporting humanitarian pauses.
  8. The US and UK have utilized their veto power to block resolutions that called for a ceasefire.

 

What potential developments or outcomes can be expected at the meeting scheduled for today?

The Security Council may deliberate on Guterres’ recommendation and contemplate a ceasefire resolution in Gaza. However, a veto is possible, especially from the US and UK, as seen in previous instances.
Ian Wilson, a lecturer in politics and security studies at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, previously conveyed to Al Jazeera, “Regardless of the wording, the US will veto any resolution advocating for a ceasefire. The consistent pattern is that the US opposes anything that seeks to limit Israel. This stance is counterproductive, as it is perceived globally as endorsing and supplying the means for extensive casualties.”