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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an emergency closed-door meeting in light of the escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza, but consensus for a joint statement remained elusive.
Senior US diplomat Robert Wood urged the 15-member council to condemn Hamas, stating, “There are a good number of countries that condemned the Hamas attacks. They’re obviously not all.” Wood’s remarks subtly alluded to Russia, given the recent strain in US-Russia relations following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
During the session, which lasted approximately 90 minutes, UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland briefed the council. Diplomatic insiders indicated that Russia and other countries sought a more comprehensive approach than simply condemning Hamas. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, stressed the importance of immediate ceasefire and substantive negotiations, attributing the current situation to long-standing “unresolved issues.”
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), having established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020, anticipates more UNSC sessions on this crisis. UAE Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh highlighted the necessity for a “political horizon leading to a two-state solution.” Although neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority (PA) were present due to their non-membership in the Security Council, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour emphasized the need to end the “Israeli occupation.”
Before the meeting, both sides presented their perspectives; Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan showcased distressing images of Israelis held by Hamas, while three Palestinian human rights organizations expressed concerns about the UNSC’s perceived inaction, suggesting this could make it “complicit” in the ongoing violence.
This comes after the Palestinian group Hamas initiated attacks on Israeli towns, leading to over 1,100 casualties and hostage situations. Israel responded with a declaration of a state of war, conducting airstrikes in Gaza, which resulted in significant loss of life.