UN Security Council Statement on Gaza-Israel Cease-fire Fails to Mention Hamas

After three U.S. vetoes, the final statement calls for 'full adherence' to truce and immediate Gaza aid and focuses on the role of international mediators

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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 Palestinian child stands amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021
A Palestinian child stands amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, yesterdayCredit: EMMANUEL DUNAND - AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday called for “the full adherence” to a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and stressed the immediate need for humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians.

The 15-member council issued its first statement on the latest Israel-Gaza fighting, after being unable to reach consensus during the 11-day conflict due to opposition by the United States. The French mission to the United Nations said it has put on hold its push for a resolution on the issue.

Israel's Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued after the Security Council's one, argued "terrorist organization Hamas bears the full responsibility for the escalation," adding it was "regrettable to see the Security Council ignoring more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilians."

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The Foreign Ministry's statement, also thanking U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration's support for Israel's policy, reiterated Israel has "a right to defend itself, and it will keep doing so facing any threat to its citizens."

Since a flare-up in tensions between Israel and Hamas last Monday, the Americans blocked three draft statements by the Security Council that were seen as problematic for Israel. 

The final version doesn’t mention Hamas in name or any rocket fire at Israeli civilians, nor does it mention Israel’s right to self-defense, which U.S. officials, including President Biden, stressed multiple times during the operation.

The relatively vague statement mentions Egyptian mediation efforts and the “immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza,” calling on the international community to increase its investment in aid. 

This comes on the same day that Lynn Hastings, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, visited Gaza City. She also called for adherence to the cease-fire, an end to the Israeli blockade of the enclave, and warned of the potential spread of COVID-19 in the Strip.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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