The United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) met on Tuesday, 24 October, to discuss the war on Gaza, with various members urging for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. This marked the fourth time the 15 Council members have convened to discuss this agenda since the start of the crisis on 7 October.
UN Secretary General António Guterres stressed that the situation in Gaza is “growing more dire by the hour,” calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to “ease epic suffering, make the delivery of aid easier and safer and facilitate the release of hostages,” he stated.
Guterres also shed light on the plight Palestinians have been subjected to for over 56 years as a result of the suffocating occupation. He noted that although nothing could justify the deliberate killing and kidnapping of civilians, or the Hamas rocket launches against civilian targets, but he said it was important to recognize the attacks by Hamas, he explained that this “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas,” he said. “And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Guterres’ remarks caused Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, to call for the Secretary General’s immediate resignation, and Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also stated that he would not be meeting with the UN chief for their scheduled bilateral.
Since the start of the conflict, the Council has failed to adopt two draft resolutions addressing the de escalation. The first resolution was from Russia, calling for an immediate ceasefire, and failed to get enough votes. The second was a Brazilian draft, which was vetoed by the United States.
So far, there hasn’t been international consensus needed to alleviate the suffering of civilians implementing a ceasefire.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken ‘hostage’ by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
So far, more than 5,971 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including an estimated 2,000 children — and 16,297 others injured. Meanwhile 91 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and 1,250 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least four times, and three aid conveys have crossed to Gaza so far.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, Arab governments have called for an immediate ceasefire.