UN Security Council meets to vote on rival resolutions on Israel-Hamas war


Palestinian Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour with Security Council President and Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergio Franca Danese before members of the the U.N. Security Council went into closed consultations at UN headquarters on October 16, 2023.

Palestinian Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour with Security Council President and Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergio Franca Danese before members of the the U.N. Security Council went into closed consultations at UN headquarters on October 16, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

The U.N. Security Council met Monday evening to vote on rival Russian and Brazilian resolutions that reflect deep divisions over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the latest Hamas’ attacks and Israeli retaliation.

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But immediately after the meeting was gaveled to order, the United Arab Emirates ambassador, Lana Nusseibeh, asked for members to go into closed consultations, and the 15 council ambassadors left the room. Several diplomats said they wanted a delay in the vote, especially on the Brazil resolution.

The U.N.’s most powerful body, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, has failed to respond to Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel that killed some 1,300 people and to Israel's airstrikes that have killed 2,750 Palestinians and its order to Gazans in the north to head south to avoid an expected ground war.

The Russian draft resolution, which was scheduled to be voted on first, calls for “an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian cease-fire ” and “strongly condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism.” It never mentions Hamas.

The Brazilian draft resolution calls for “humanitarian pauses” and also “firmly condemns all violence and hostilities against civilians and all acts of terrorism.” But it also “unequivocally rejects and condemns the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas.”

Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations have been private, said the Russian draft resolution was unlikely to get support from at least nine of the 15 council members, the minimum required.

The Palestinian U.N. Ambassador, Riyad Mansour, told reporters before the meeting that “the Arab group is supportive of the Russian draft.”

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said both resolutions “have very positive elements in their respective text” and “we are ready to support the Security Council to move forward with decisive actions and to send a strong message at this very critical moment.”

Apparently expecting a defeat of its resolution, Russia proposed two amendments to the Brazilian draft resolution to be voted on separately after the vote on the Russian resolution but before the entire Brazilian resolution would be put to a vote.

One amendment would add a call “for an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire.”

The second proposed amendment “also unequivocally condemns indiscriminate attacks against civilians as well as against civilian objects in the Gaza Strip depriving civilian population of means indispensable for their survival, in violation of international law.”

The Security Council met behind closed doors Friday for the second time in five days on the Israel-Hamas war, but couldn’t reach a united approach. Russia proposed its draft resolution and Brazil, the current council president, circulated a rival draft over the weekend.

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