U.N. Security Council calls for expanded humanitarian aid in Gaza, as U.S. abstains

The symbol of the United Nations is displayed outside the Secretariat Building at U.N. headquarters. After days of protracted and slow-moving negotiations, the United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution calling for “urgent steps” to allow expanded aid into the Gaza strip, as the territory faces a spiraling humanitarian crisis from weeks of Israeli bombardment. But lacking unanimous support for an immediate pause to the fighting, the resolution stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. The final vote on the resolution, which was drafted by the United Arab Emirates, was 13-o. The United States abstained from the vote, as did Russia. Friday’s vote had originally been scheduled for Monday, but it was repeatedly delayed to allow for negotiations over the final text of the resolution in an effort to get the U.S. — Israel’s strongest ally on the international stage — to agree not to veto. In the end, the wording approved by the Security Council was watered down compared to earlier drafts of the resolution. Previous drafts had called for a “cessation” or even a “suspension” of hostilities, which the U.S. objected to. Negotiators ultimately settled on language that called for creating “the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” “We know this is not a perfect text. We know only a cease-fire will end this suffering,” said Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, the sponsor of the resolution, in remarks ahead of the vote. “Often in diplomacy, the challenge is meeting the moment in the world we live in, not in the world that we want,” she added. Inspecting aid into Gaza Another sticking point in negotiations was whether the U.N. itself should inspect the trucks that are entering Gaza to deliver desperately needed aid. Israel currently inspects these convoys to make sure […]

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By Donato