Divisions at the Security Council hampered the UN response to Israeli-Palestinian violence. On Sunday, Russia and China called for a genuine peace process in the Middle East during a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the recent attacks by Hamas in Israel, which have been the worst in decades.
Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian permanent representative to the UN, emphasized the importance of stopping the fighting immediately and initiating meaningful negotiations that have been stalled for decades. Nebenzia condemned all attacks on civilians and urged for a ceasefire. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun supported this stance, calling for a return to the two-state solution.
However, the Security Council was unable to produce a joint statement on the matter due to disagreements among its members. The United States demanded that all 15 members condemn the “heinous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas.” While some countries heeded this call, others did not. The US Deputy Ambassador, Robert Wood, expressed his disappointment with those who did not condemn the attacks, hinting at their identities without explicitly naming them.
In response, Israel’s UN representative, Gilad Erdan, declared that Israel’s goal was to obliterate Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure. He referred to members of the militant group as “savages” and “animal-like terrorists,” accusing them of committing blatant war crimes during their raid on southern Israel. Erdan emphasized the need to dismantle Hamas’ capabilities and ensure the safety of Israeli civilians.
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour blamed Israel’s blockade of Gaza and regular attacks in the densely populated area for fueling the violence. Mansour urged Israel not to exacerbate the situation and to reconsider its choices.
Hamas fighters have not only targeted Israeli military bases and personnel but also attacked civilians and captured hostages, as evidenced by online footage. In response, Israel has declared war on the organization and launched retaliatory strikes on Gaza.
The crisis has revealed divisions within the international community. Russia criticized Western nations for blocking the work of the Quartet on the Middle East, which is tasked with mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Moscow argued that the crisis stems from the non-implementation of relevant resolutions by the UN Security Council.
Israel’s recent diplomatic achievements in revitalizing its relations with Arab countries and working towards establishing ties with Saudi Arabia have been overshadowed by increasing criticism from human rights organizations such as B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch. These organizations claim that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid.
Arab nations have also issued statements regarding the ongoing escalation, suggesting that Israel bears at least partial responsibility for the situation. They have called for a revival of the peace process to bring an end to the violence.
In conclusion, the Security Council’s inability to produce a joint statement reflects the divisions and differing opinions among its members. The Russian and Chinese calls for a genuine peace process, the US demand for condemnation of Hamas attacks, and Israel’s determination to obliterate the terrorist group’s infrastructure all contribute to the complexity of finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ongoing violence highlights the urgent need for meaningful negotiations and a ceasefire to prevent further loss of civilian lives and further escalation of tensions.