U.N. votes to ramp up Gaza aid, demand release of hostages; U.S. abstains, allowing passage after days of negotiations

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United Nations – The U.N. Security Council voted Friday to speed up the process of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and demand that all the hostages held by Hamas be released immediately and without conditions. The U.S. abstained on the measure, allowing the resolution to pass, after days of negotiations on the terms.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 13-0 with 2 abstensions, by the U.S. and Russia. Before the vote, Russia proposed an amendment that was vetoed by the U.S. 

The U.N. Security Council resolution was changed on the morning of the vote to call for “urgent steps to immediately allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and also for creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.”

Although the final text does not make a renewed call for a pause in the fighting or demand a cease-fire — as the Arab group of nations at the U.N. wanted — it was a diplomatic breakthrough for the U.S. and United Arab Emirates negotiators that avoids a feared veto by Washington and creates a pathway to expedite food, water and fuel to Palestinian civilians. 

The United States worked at the U.N., in Washington and around the world to negotiate compromises in the resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates. In its final form, the resolution does not constrain Israel’s ability to degrade the militant group Hamas’ military arsenal, nor does it impede Israel’s ability to search for Israeli, American and other nations’ hostages who are still in captivity in Gaza. 

Although the final text does not make a renewed call for a pause in the fighting or demand a cease-fire — as the Arab group of nations at the U.N. wanted — it was a diplomatic breakthrough for the U.S. and United Arab Emirates negotiators that avoids a feared veto by Washington and creates a pathway to expedite food, water and fuel to Palestinian civilians. 

The United States worked at the U.N., in Washington and around the world to negotiate compromises in the resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates. In its final form, the resolution does not constrain Israel’s ability to degrade the militant group Hamas’ military arsenal, nor does it impede Israel’s ability to search for Israeli, American and other nations’ hostages who are still in captivity in Gaza. 

The draft resolution also contains a commitment of world powers to a two-state solution with Israel and the Palestinians living “side-by-side” — with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank unified under the Palestinian Authority — a governance role for the Palestinian Authority that Israel recently said it opposes, but which is an acknowledgement by the Arab Group of nations at the U.N. that Hamas will no longer have a de-facto governing role in a post-conflict Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after the Thursday evening meeting that the U.S. supports the resolution’s passage because it will bring humanitarian aid “to those in need.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.



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