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UN approves call for 'humanitarian pauses' in Israel-Hamas war

The UN called for pauses in fighting so humanitarian aid can reach Gaza and so repairs and rescue operations can take place.
UN approves call for 'humanitarian pauses' in Israel-Hamas war
Posted at 3:15 PM, Nov 15, 2023

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution Wednesday calling for urgent 'humanitarian pauses' in the Israel-Hamas war.

The 15-member council, which has the responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, has been paralyzed since the war began by its internal divisions. This is especially the case between China and Russia, which want an immediate ceasefire, and the United States, Israel’s closest ally that has called for humanitarian pauses but objects to any mention of a ceasefire.

In the four previous tries, a Brazil-drafted resolution was vetoed by the United States, a U.S.-drafted resolution was vetoed by Russia and China, and two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get the minimum nine “yes” voted needed for adoption.

The adopted resolution says the humanitarian pauses should be “for a sufficient number of days” to open corridors for unhindered access by U.N., Red Cross and other aid workers to get water, electricity, fuel, food and medical supplies to all those in need. It says the pauses also should allow repair of essential infrastructure and enable urgent rescue and recovery efforts.

SEE MORE: US says it did not approve Israel's strike on Gaza hospital

After the failure of the fourth Security Council resolution, Arab nations turned to the 193-member General Assembly and succeeded in getting wide approval for a resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza meant to lead to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

It was the first United Nations response to the war. But unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, though they are a barometer of world opinion.

The vote in the General Assembly was 120-14 with 45 abstentions. Of the five veto-holding Security Council members, Russia, China and France voted in favor, the United States voted against and the United Kingdom abstained.

The General Assembly resolution was adopted Oct. 27 and Israel agreed Nov. 9 to four-hour pauses. But only very limited aid has been delivered to Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt, and a humanitarian catastrophe has been brewing.

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