UN Security Council adopts resolution urging immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza, hostage release

New Delhi, Nov 16: The United Nations Security Council, in a late-breaking meeting on Wednesday adopted Resolution 2712 (2023) with 12 votes in Favor, none against, and 3 abstentions (Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States).

The resolution calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors in the Gaza Strip to facilitate the delivery of essential goods and services.
The Council’s resolution further demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, particularly children, held by Hamas and other groups. It emphasises the need for parties involved to refrain from depriving Gaza civilians of life-saving services and humanitarian aid.

Before the adoption, the Russian Federation proposed an amendment, describing it as the “lowest common denominator.” The amendment, which echoes the General Assembly’s resolution from October 26, was defeated by a vote of 5 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 9 abstentions.
Malta, the resolution’s proponent, focused on the dire situation of children trapped and held hostage. The passage of the resolution is expected to facilitate urgent rescue efforts, recovery operations, and the medical evacuation of sick or injured children and their caregivers.

Following the vote, Council members expressed their positions. Brazil stressed the urgency of the Council’s response initially, hoping the resolution would alleviate the dire situation if implemented urgently.

The United Arab Emirates, acknowledging the difficult negotiations and compromises, praised Malta’s leadership, and urged collective action to save Gaza.
China’s representative, while supporting the resolution, expressed concern about the siege of Al-Shifa Hospital and called on Israel to cease military operations against civilian facilities. The representative emphasized the Council’s duty to stand on the side of justice.

The United States abstained from the resolution, citing an absence of condemnation for Hamas, which it believes initiated the conflict. The representative stressed that the resolution alone would not save lives and called for support for the UN and humanitarian workers in Gaza.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine asserted that the Council should have called for a ceasefire earlier, emphasizing the millions of lives at stake. Israel’s representative, while acknowledging the humanitarian focus of the resolution, highlighted the absence of reference to the events leading up to the current situation. He reiterated Israel’s commitment to bringing hostages home and suggested an immediate end to the conflict if Hamas surrenders and releases hostages unharmed.

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