12.03.2024 Author: Viktor Mikhin

The UN and the Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The US has once again vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. It was introduced by Algeria, which demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, condemned all attacks on civilians and opposed the forced displacement of Palestinians. In the 15-member UNSC, the US alone vetoed it, its loyal acolyte the UK “abstained,” while 13 countries voted in favor, given the complexity of the situation in the Gaza Strip. Algeria’s permanent representative to the UN, Amar Bendjama, emphasized in a statement before the vote: “To oppose the draft resolution is to support the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian people.”

Negative reaction around the world to the US Vote

Anger, outrage, bewilderment – these emotions swept the Arab region and, in fact, the entire globe in response to the US vote against the UN Security Council resolution that supported a cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip. Events unfolding in the Middle East have the potential to affect the United States’ strategic position in the region for a long time to come. And now, more than ever, there is a question about the future of the United States in the Middle East. The US vote against the UNSC resolution was a source of frustration and outrage for many. Many Arab countries and their representatives cannot understand how a great power like the United States of America could show such a disrespectful stance towards an issue that affects the lives of so many people. Without a second thought, the United States, through the outcome of the vote, has set itself against the entire world and its desire to end the carnage in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, the current decision of the United States could have long-term negative consequences for its own interests in the Middle East. Firstly, the US’s refusal to support a resolution to end the war in the Gaza Strip could increase tension and conflict in the region. Fierce clashes between Israel and the Palestinians have already resulted in some 30,000 deaths, including women and children, and the destruction of infrastructure. Lack of international pressure on the parties to the conflict could lead to continued violence and worsen the humanitarian catastrophe.

Secondly, the US’s refusal to support the resolution could undermine the currently proposed efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in the Middle East. Many countries and organizations have called for dialog and negotiations between the parties to the conflict in order to find a long-term and sustainable solution. However, the lack of international support could make it difficult to reach a peace agreement and increase radical tendencies on both sides. The third consequence of the refusal of American diplomacy to support the resolution is the loss of confidence in American leadership in the international arena. Washington, according to the American media, has traditionally sought to play a key role in resolving conflicts and maintaining world peace. However, its current decision to block the resolution may raise doubts about its ability and willingness to act in the interests of all parties.

There is no doubt that the negative vote by the United States on the UN Security Council resolution has, by all accounts, put the future of the entire Middle East and, above all, the resolution of the Arab-Israeli problem, into great question. However, regardless of the decisions taken by the United States, it is important to remember that any settlement of the conflict in the Middle East must be based on justice and consideration of the interests of all parties. Only focused and deep attention to this problem can lead to long-term peace and stability in the region.

Humanitarian and General Disaster in the Gaza Strip

First and foremost, the absence of a ceasefire only exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe already existing in the Gaza Strip. The world is witnessing high civilian casualties, constant human rights violations and an increasing number of internally displaced persons. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya recalled that Russia called for a ceasefire on October 16, 2023, but the resolution was not adopted. “The price of inaction is more than 28,000 dead. The collective responsibility for this lies with the Western countries in the UN Security Council,” the diplomat said. Referring to the dangerous situation in the southern sector around the city of Rafah, Vasily Nebenzya emphasized the importance of preventing further humanitarian disasters. He called for immediate action to create sustainable channels of assistance to the population of the Gaza Strip. “The authority of the UN Security Council is at stake,” he said, urging Security Council members to stand up against what he called Washington’s arbitrary behavior. Vasily Nebenzya emphasized the historic significance of the moment, describing it as another dark chapter authored by the US delegation.

Israel continued its deadly bombardment of war-torn Gaza as Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution giving the green light for the Palestinian slaughter to continue. World powers trying to find a way out of the growing crisis have so far failed, and mediation efforts have so far failed to secure a truce to end the fighting, AFP reported. Adding to Gaza’s woes, the UN food agency said it had to temporarily cut off much-needed supplies to the north of the territory after it encountered “total chaos and violence” there.

Israel is deliberately starving the people of Gaza in its battle with Hamas in the enclave and must be held accountable for war crimes and genocide, a UN official said. Michael Fakhri, special rapporteur on the right to food, told The Guardian that Israel has deliberately destroyed food supplies and restricted the flow of food into Gaza since the war began in October. Some 2.2 million civilians face hunger and severe malnutrition as a result of the extreme shortage of basic necessities in this region.

As you know, deliberately depriving civilians of food is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which states that depriving people of “items necessary for their survival, including willfully obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance” falls under this definition. Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused Israel of using starvation in its operations in Gaza, an act that the UN Security Council called a violation of international law and a war crime in 2018.

“There is no reason to deliberately block the passage of humanitarian aid or to deliberately destroy small fishing boats, greenhouses and orchards in Gaza – other than to deny people access to food,” Fakhri said. “Israel has declared its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian.” The official said the situation in Gaza was a situation of “genocide” and that Israel as a whole, “not just individuals, this government or that person,” was “guilty and must be held accountable.”

The international official said, “We have never seen civilians starved so quickly and so totally, this is the unanimous view of famine experts. Israel is not just targeting civilians, it is trying to harm the future of the Palestinian people by harming their children.”

The criticism also came as countries cut funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugee aid and works following Israeli allegations that 12 of its workers had links to Hamas and its October 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people. UNRWA provides food, health, education and other basic services to nearly 6 million Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories and across the Middle East. “Cutting off funding almost immediately on the basis of unsubstantiated claims against a small number of people has no purpose other than to collectively punish all Palestinians in many countries,” the UN said. “The countries that have withdrawn this lifeline are undoubtedly complicit in the Palestinian hunger.”

All these negative consequences of ignoring international resolutions are not only a danger to the region itself, but also to the world. The Middle East is one of the most important geopolitical zones on the planet, and its stability is key to maintaining world peace and security. Thus, the US decision against the UNSC resolution on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has serious and far-reaching consequences for the entire Middle East. The humanitarian situation is expected to further deteriorate; political instability is expected to increase, and along with this, economic decline. Governments and leaders of the world community must take immediate and effective measures to prevent these harmful consequences and find a peaceful solution to the conflict in this important region.

It can be stated that the prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in light of the negative US vote in the UN on the Gaza resolution present a complex and unpredictable situation. But despite the negative outlook, one must remain hopeful that a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is possible. That requires efforts on the part of all States, peoples and international organizations concerned. A just solution based on mutual respect, acceptance of compromises and consideration of the interests of all parties may be the key to resolving this long and tragic conflict.


Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook

Related articles: