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UN Security Council Briefed on Lack of Protection for Civilians in Gaza

April 6, 2024 (EIRNS)—The UN Security Council met yesterday in emergency session, to discuss the humanitarian situation in the aftermath of the Israeli killing of 7 aid workers in Gaza on April 1. The atmosphere of the meeting was such that even the normal U.S. defense of Israel was muted, though still taking the obligatory swipe at Hamas. According to the UN News account of the meeting, Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called on the council to take immediate concerted action to investigate, prosecute and stop such violations of international humanitarian law and to give humanitarian staff unimpeded access to those in need, as delegates raised concern about the imminent famine in the Palestinian occupied territory.

“The events of the last week alone are evidence of the unconscionable brutality of this conflict,” Rajasingham said. “It is clear there is no protection of civilians in Gaza.”

Janti Soeripto, President and Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children USA, noted that 203 humanitarian aid workers have been killed in Gaza—the highest number of humanitarian casualties in modern times—and that more children have been killed in this conflict than in all armed conflicts globally over the past four years.

“Give humanitarians safe access and a ceasefire, and we can save lives,” she urged, calling on the Security Council to pass a permanent ceasefire resolution. “Member States must stop fueling the crisis with the weapons they’re selling to the parties of conflict,” she said, stressing: “The world—those sitting in this room—have the tools to address this crisis.”

For the most part, the two briefers were echoed by members of the council. “Now is not the time for humanitarian PR, which is being used as a cover for the unwillingness or the inability to take measures to end the bloodshed and to ensure the safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance,” said Russian Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia. Pointing out that Israel has not submitted information confirming allegations it leveled against UNRWA staff. “UNSC members must not play along with Israel, which had embarked on a crusade against UNRWA long before the events of 7 October,” he said, adding that the Council is duty-bound to secure the implementation in full by all parties to the conflict of all its decisions, he stressed.

On that note, Dai Bing, chargé d’affaires of China’s permanent mission to the UN, stressed that full implementation of Security Council resolution 2728 (2024) is a matter of urgency. He further underscored the importance of the two-state solution—a point also made by the Republic of Korea. As a first step “we need to support Palestinian full membership at the UN,” he added, calling for a larger, more authoritative international peace conference to develop the timeline and pathway for the realization of the two-state solution.