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Russia rejected at UNSC for failing to call out Hamas

Moscow's defeated draft resolution was intended to embarrass Washington by forcing it to veto a ceasefire, a diplomatic source tells JNS.

The U.N. Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East. Photo by Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.
The U.N. Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East. Photo by Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.

On Monday night, the United Nations Security Council rejected Moscow’s draft resolution on proposed actions for the Israel-Hamas war. The United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan voted it down, with six other countries in the 15-member body abstaining. Five member states, including Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Gabon and Mozambique, voted in favor.

Security Council resolutions need a minimum of nine yes votes and no vetoes by the five permanent members to pass.  

Those who rejected Russia’s move pointed to flaws in the draft text, most notably the omission of any mention of Hamas. The resolution, backed by the Palestinian Authority, called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of hostages, humanitarian aid access and the safe evacuation of civilians in need, while condemning violence against civilians and all acts of terrorism.

“By failing to condemn Hamas, Russia is giving cover to a terrorist group that brutalizes innocent civilians,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “It is outrageous, it is hypocritical and it is indefensible.” 

Russia fired back, with its ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, saying the Security Council was being held “hostage” to “selfish intentions of the Western bloc.” 

Monday’s meeting was suspended almost immediately upon starting, with members retiring to closed consultations to discuss the resolution in private before emerging an hour later to voice their positions publicly and vote.

A diplomatic source familiar with the workings of the Security Council told JNS that Russia’s insistence on putting its resolution up for a vote was a gamble, and that it had hoped the United States would be forced to veto a ceasefire.

Russia has also entered a marriage of convenience with Iran, purchasing deadly weaponry from Tehran for use in its assaults on Ukraine. Hamas is an Iranian proxy.

On Monday, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, opposed Russia’s draft resolution, telling the Security Council that every member “should understand that Hamas is driven by an ideology no different than the Nazis’.” He called Hamas’s charter “Mein Kampf on steroids.”

Chastising the United Nations for burying its head in the sand since Hamas’s 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip, Erdan said the international community “accepted an absurd reality that a law-abiding democracy could live side by side with cancerous genocidal terrorists thirsty for Israeli blood, that fires tens of thousands of missiles indiscriminately at our civilians.”

A competing draft resolution brought by Brazil is currently scheduled for a vote on Tuesday evening, after council members agreed further negotiations were needed. As it stands, the Brazilian text includes a condemnation of “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas.” 

However, it also calls for “humanitarian pauses,” a change from the original text demanding a ceasefire, a non-starter for Washington, which implicitly backs Israel’s right to now go on the offensive against Hamas. 

The issue may be moot, following a marathon discussion Monday night between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which resulted in a basic agreement to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Thomas-Greenfield is likely to ask council members to hold off on any action while the contours of the plan are developed in the coming hours and days.

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