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Saturday, July 20, 2024

UNSC postpones vote on Gaza ceasefire for the third time

The key vote on a proposal to boost humanitarian aid for Gaza has been postponed for the third time, primarily to avoid a veto from the US.

The Gaza Strip has been plunged into a devastating crisis as the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues, reaching a tragic milestone of over 20,000 lives lost in just over 10 weeks. Among the victims, 8,000 children and 6,200 women have perished, highlighting the immense toll on the civilian population. 

Unrelenting Violence

The war, which escalated after a seven-day truce collapsed on December 1, has entered a more intensive phase with ground combat spreading across the entire Gaza Strip. The latest air strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp and Rafah have added to the mounting death toll, leaving at least 46 people dead and many more wounded. The brutality of the conflict is evident in the targeting of densely populated areas, raising concerns about the safety of civilians.

Read More: Hamas chief due in Egypt for Gaza ceasefire talks

Diplomatic Hurdles at the United Nations

Efforts to address the humanitarian crisis at the United Nations Security Council have faced setbacks. The key vote on a proposal to boost humanitarian aid for Gaza has been postponed for the third time, primarily to avoid a potential veto from the United States, a staunch ally of Israel. The proposal seeks to diminish Israel’s control over humanitarian aid deliveries to the 2.3 million people in Gaza, but diplomatic challenges persist.

Humanitarian Aid Dilemma

As the conflict rages on, the delivery of humanitarian aid remains a critical concern. The initial resolution has been modified to soften calls for an immediate end to the fighting, reflecting the delicate balance diplomats are attempting to strike. The current situation, where Israel monitors aid deliveries, has hindered the flow of essential supplies. With half of Gaza’s population reportedly starving, the need for effective aid delivery is more urgent than ever.

Shift in U.S. Stance

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has acknowledged the need for a shift in the conflict to a lower intensity phase. While expressing a desire for more targeted Israeli operations, he emphasized the importance of minimizing harm to civilians. The U.S. has historically shielded Israel from UN action, but Blinken’s comments suggest a nuanced approach, calling for a reduction in the scale of military operations.

Voices for Ceasefire

Despite the challenges, voices within the international community are advocating for a ceasefire. The United Arab Emirates, which drafted the resolution, is working towards a consensus that would have a positive impact on the ground. However, the complex nature of the conflict and competing interests make reaching a resolution challenging.

Regional Diplomacy

In a rare move, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has visited Egypt for diplomatic discussions, raising hopes for potential truce negotiations. Haniyeh’s meeting with Egyptian officials, acting as mediators, signals a diplomatic effort to find common ground. Israel, in talks with U.S. and Qatari representatives, has also indicated a willingness to consider a truce. However, significant gaps in publicly stated positions on halting the fighting remain, with Hamas pushing for a permanent ceasefire while Israel insists on limited humanitarian pauses.

Read More: Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital a ‘bloodbath’ says WHO

The road to peace in Gaza is fraught with challenges, as the international community grapples with diplomatic intricacies and the urgency of providing aid to the war-ravaged region. The ongoing negotiations, coupled with the staggering loss of life, highlight the need for a concerted effort to bring an end to the conflict and alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza.