UN approves humanitarian aid for Gaza: But why didn’t the US vote in favor?

The UN Security Council approved this Friday a resolution to boost the sending of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Stripafter a week of intense negotiations.

The text asks the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, to appoint a special coordinator to monitor and verify the shipment of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave, subject to constant bombing after the escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas, on October 7.

The initiative, presented by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had to be rewritten several times due to the objections of the United States, which has veto power in the body and which finally abstained from voting, like Russia.

But what was the reason for The United States will not vote in favor of the entry of humanitarian aid for Gaza?

On two previous occasions, the United States has voted against UN resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The United States is one of the five countries that has veto power in the UN Security Council, which means that the North American country can ‘throw’ resolutions even if all other nations vote in favor.

This week, the resolution presented by the United Arab Emirates had to be rewritten several times to prevent the United States from vetoing it again, after just on December 8, EU will pull out an agreement for Israel to stop attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Now, This December 22, the US abstained from voting. By abstaining, the other countries that make up the United Nations Security Council were finally able to approve an initiative to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The resolution was in danger until the last moment this Friday. Just before the vote, the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasili Nebenzia, proposed an amendment to recover a mention that the original text made to the need to pause hostilities immediately to allow the entry of humanitarian aid.

This phrase was replaced after the United States objected to the initiative and requested a somewhat vaguer mention of the need to take “urgent steps” to end hostilities.

The Russian amendment was supported by a majority of countries in the Council but vetoed by the United States. Ultimately, Russia abstained, allowing the resolution to move forward.

What did the United States say about its abstention from asking for aid for Gaza?

The American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfielddefended for his part that the new approved text calls for “creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities,” and that this already represents “a strong step forward.”

After the vote, Thomas-Greenfield assured that Hamas has no intention of there being a lasting peace with Israel, and that is why he focused on the need to adopt “humanitarian pauses” instead of a total cessation of fighting.

Furthermore, the ambassador has been “deeply disappointed” that the Council has not asked to condemn Hamas “for the horrendous terrorist attack on October 7.” In the Hamas raid that day, about 1,200 Israelis were killed. Since that day, Israel has launched daily bombings and attacks where 20 thousand Palestinian people have been murdered, among them about 8 thousand girls and boys.

The United States has already vetoed paths alone twice resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. First, the US argued that a resolution did not recognize Israel’s right to defend itself; and on another occasion, he said that the release of all hostages held by Hamas was not required as a condition for stopping the fighting.

The resolution that was approved this Friday asks the UN Secretary General to appoint a humanitarian coordinator, who must present a mechanism to accelerate the sending of aid to Gaza and present a plan in the next twenty days.

In the negotiations, the United States asked that Israel be the one to control the entry of aid into Gaza, despite the fact that the Israeli government itself has maintained a blockade for more than a decade, preventing various items from entering the Palestinian enclave.

Gaza is a strip of Palestinian land that is walled by Israel, which controls permits for Palestinians to enter or leave the area. The UN has even said that the strip is an ‘open-air prison’. Permits are often not approved. In addition, Israel has maintained a complete blockade of the Strip since the start of hostilities in October.

Earlier this day, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby assured that trucks with humanitarian aid have been entering through the Kerem Shalon crossing, under Israeli control, on more occasions than through Rafahwhich adjoins Egypt.

What does the new UN resolution approved this Friday ask for?

Specific, The text calls for “urgent humanitarian breaks and corridors.” for a sufficient number of days to allow full, rapid, safe and unhindered access” to Gaza. In addition, he demands the release of all hostages.

The United States also opposed the language used in the previous draft about a “ceasefire” in Gaza. The final version of the text thus urges the creation of “the necessary steps to allow the entry of humanitarian aid,” which can help “create conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

He Palestinian representative to the United Nations, Riyad Mansurhas stressed, for his part, that the resolution is a “step in a good direction”, although he has asserted that it must be accompanied by “pressure” to demand a “immediate” ceasefire.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has also spoken and hopes that the text “help improve the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid.” “But a humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to respond to the needs of the people of Gaza and put an end to this nightmare,” he added.

The vote comes after the United States vetoed a resolution in early December in the Council calling for an “immediate” humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN letter, urging the body to “put pressure” to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

With information from EFE, Europapress, Bloomberg and AP.