Forty days after the savage Hamas atrocities of October 7, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday passed a resolution demanding a ceasefire and calling for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children.” The resolution did not condemn the Hamas atrocities that started the war.
The UNSC resolution called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” for a “sufficient number of days” until the U.N. can guarantee the “unhindered provision of essential goods and services.”
The resolution passed the 15-member UNSC by a vote of 12-0 on Wednesday. The United States, United Kingdom, and Russia abstained from the vote.
Russia wanted the resolution to be harsher against Israel and less critical of the Hamas terrorists, and it wanted the U.S. to demand a permanent cease-fire instead of a temporary humanitarian pause. Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia scoffed at UNSC for allowing the United States to block language more aggressive against Israel.
“Does this mean that you are in favor of the war in the Middle East continuing indefinitely?” Nebenzia asked the Council after the amendment to demand a permanent ceasefire was defeated.
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U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States abstained because it could not vote for a resolution that failed to condemn the Hamas atrocities or restate the right of U.N. member states to protect their citizens against terrorist attacks. She expressed approval of the call for Hamas to release its hostages, however.
“What are they afraid of?” she asked of UNSC members who refused to condemn the October 7 attacks. “Let’s be crystal clear: Hamas set this conflict in motion.”
Thomas-Greenfield noted that Wednesday evening’s vote was “the first time we have ever adopted a resolution that even mentions the world ‘Hamas.’”
UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward supported the call for a humanitarian pause, but also regretted that UNSC still could not bring itself to condemn the Hamas atrocities.
“The barbarity of those attacks should be clear to us all,” she said, adding it was “unconscionable” that Hamas “continues to hold men, women and children” kidnapped on October 7, causing “terrible fear and suffering for their families.”
Tuoro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust director Anne Bayefsky immediately criticized the Biden administration for failing to block a resolution that did not condemn the October 7 attack, and did not acknowledge the hideous abuse Hamas has perpetrated against its victims.
“The Council resolution said the hostages were ‘held by Hamas and other groups’ – not that they were raped, mutilated and kidnapped by Hamas. It never mentioned Israel’s U.N. Charter right of self-defense. It refers only to civilians ‘in Gaza’ and never in Israel. It never mentions ongoing rocket attacks against Israelis. And yet the Biden administration refused to veto it,” Bayefsky told Fox News.
“The United States voted the same way as that moral stalwart Russia and merely abstained. It is shocking, morally bankrupt and bodes very badly for the future of humanity, since make no mistake: use of the United Nations to invert right and wrong is just as bad for Americans as it is for Israelis,” she said.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, likewise said the UNSC resolution was “disconnected from reality” and “meaningless” because it demanded a pause in Israel’s counterterrorism operation without condemning, or even acknowledging, what Israel is operating against.
Erdan added the U.N. was unrealistic for expecting Hamas to abide by any ceasefire resolution, temporary or otherwise.
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“Regardless of what the Council decides, Israel will continue acting according to international law while the Hamas terrorists will not even read the resolution at all, let alone abide by it,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that the Council continues to ignore, not condemn, or even mention the massacre that Hamas carried out on Oct. 7, which led to the war in Gaza. It is truly shameful!” he said.
“Israel will continue to act until Hamas is destroyed and the hostages are returned,” he vowed.
Brett Jonathan Miller, deputy Israeli ambassador to the U.N., made a point of getting the Hamas atrocities on the record after UNSC failed to discuss or condemn them.
“On 7 October, Hamas terrorists launched a barbaric invasion into Israel, murdering, raping, and brutalizing innocent civilians. Since then, the Council has convened on the matter almost 10 times and still has not succeeded in condemning Hamas’ 7 October massacre,” Miller said.
“Today’s resolution focuses solely on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. It makes no mention of what led up to this moment. Hamas has made it clear that given the chance, it will commit its atrocities again. They have shown the world that the genocidal rhetoric is not hyperbole, but an oath to annihilate Israel by any means,” he said.
Miller said Israel’s operation in Gaza “is not about retaliation, or revenge for Hamas violence,” but rather about “upholding the right to self-defense” and “ensuring that such horrors are never repeated.”
Like Erdan, Miller stressed that Hamas does not care about U.N. resolutions.
“Israel has already implemented humanitarian pauses during which Gazan civilians can temporarily evacuate the active war zone. Hamas, on the other hand, murders Gazans as they try to evacuate. Israel has approved the entry of nearly 1,400 trucks with thousands of tons worth of aid. Meanwhile, Hamas is holding food, fuel, and medical supplies for its terror machine,” he said.
“Should Hamas choose to lay down their arms, turn themselves in, and hand over the hostages unscathed, this war would end immediately,” he noted.
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On Thursday morning, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced it recovered weapons and other Hamas materials from the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, a location frequently mentioned in demands for a humanitarian ceasefire.
In addition to rifles, grenades, and armor, much of it stamped with Hamas brigade insignia, the IDF discovered laptops containing photos and video of the hostages, some of whom might have been held prisoner at the hospital or the tunnels beneath it.
“At the end of the day, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hamas aren’t here because they saw we were coming. This is probably what they were forced to leave behind. Our assessment is that there’s much more,” IDF Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told the BBC, just hours after the U.N. demanded Israel pause its counterterrorism operation, but refused to condemn Hamas for kidnapping and terrorism.