Gaza war: UN Security Council calls to boost aid to enclave as US abstains from vote

Gaza war: UN Security Council calls to boost aid to enclave as US abstains from vote
The UN Security Council has approved a resolution to boost aid to the besieged Gaza, with 13 voting in favour.
15 min read
22 December, 2023

The UN has voted in favour of a resolution granting more aid into Gaza, with 13 votes, after a week of vote delays and intense negotiations to avoid a veto by the United States.

The adopted resolution "calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities." The initial draft had called for "an urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities" to allow aid access.

"By signing off on this, the council would essentially be giving the Israeli armed forces complete freedom of movement for further clearing of the Gaza Strip," Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council before the vote.

The vote however, does not yet call for a complete ceasefire, instead, saying that "conditions should be created" for one.

Two Palestinian brothers injured in attack near Bethlehem
11:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Two Palestinian brothers from the Khalael al-Louz area southeast of Bethlehem were stabbed and wounded after being attacked and beaten by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

A security source told WAFA correspondent that settlers attacked the two men, who were identified as Nasf Naseef Ismail, 38, and Hodeifa,36, causing them injuries.

The director of the Red Crescent Ambulance and Emergencies Branch Bethlehem Abdul Halim Jaafara said that the two brothers received wounds across their bodies as a result of being severely beaten up by the settlers.

UNSC resolution ‘greenlighting genocide’: Ex-UNRWA official
11:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

Former UNRWA chief spokesperson Chris Gunness says what’s unfolding in Gaza is “an American-Israeli genocide – it’s not just an Israeli genocide”.

“Just as America provides Israel with $4bn of military support per annum, it’s also – as we’ve seen tonight – providing Israel with diplomatic and political cover to continue with a genocide which is marked by the wholesale and industrial ignoring of international humanitarian law,” Gunness told Al Jazeera.

He added that Israeli statements following the passage of the Security Council resolution make it clear the country plans to retain control of what goes into Gaza.

“It’s clear that [Israel] … as it’s done in the past, [intends] to have a veto over what goes into Gaza,” Gunness said

Chris Gunness says what’s unfolding in Gaza is “an American-Israeli genocide – it’s not just an Israeli genocide”.

“Just as America provides Israel with $4bn of military support per annum, it’s also – as we’ve seen tonight – providing Israel with diplomatic and political cover to continue with a genocide which is marked by the wholesale and industrial ignoring of international humanitarian law,” Gunness told Al Jazeera.

He added that Israeli statements following the passage of the Security Council resolution make it clear the country plans to retain control of what goes into Gaza.

“It’s clear that [Israel] … as it’s done in the past, [intends] to have a veto over what goes into Gaza,” Gunness said.

UNDP worker in Gaza killed with family in Israeli air strike
11:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

The United Nations Development Programme's staff member Issam Al Mughrabi was killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza, according to UNDP's administrator Achim Steiner.

Issam’s wife Lamya’a, as well as his children Mohammad, Suad, Lama, Luai and Obaideh – the youngest of whom was 13 – were all killed near Gaza City.

“This war must end,” said Steiner. “No more families should endure the pain and suffering that Issam’s family and countless others are experiencing.”

Israeli attack kills at least 18 in Nuseirat camp
11:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian state news agency WAFA said that the strike hit a home in al-Ishreen Street in the east of the central Gazan camp and also led to dozens of injuries.

Al Jazeera said that the strike hit the home of the Khalifa family, with many of the dead from the family, as well as members of the al-Attar, Abu Shawish and al-Batniji families who had taken refuge in the home after being displaced from their own.

UNSC resolution ‘step towards ending aggression’: PA
10:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry statement also said the resolution is a step towards “ensuring the delivery of aid and protecting our people”.

The resolution has been widely criticised for failing to demand a halt or pause in fighting, despite appealing for Gaza aid deliveries to be scaled up.

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‘This is heartbreaking’: WHO chief on Gaza hunger
10:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has again warned that “famine is looming” in Gaza. He called for an “urgent improvement in food security”.

The situation is most acute in northern Gaza, where four of five households “are going entire days and nights without eating”. That’s the case for about half of the displaced people in the south, he said on X.

“This is catastrophic to the health of people across the Strip,” he said. “This is heartbreaking.”

Hamas slams Gallant's 'empty threat'
9:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian group has responded to remarks by the Israeli defence minister, who said earlier today that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar would soon “meet the barrels of our guns”, according to Israeli media reports.

In a statement shared on its Telegram channel, Hamas said Gallant’s comment reflects his failure to achieve any of Israel’s stated goals in Gaza.

The Israeli army has only succeeded in killing civilians and destroying civilian facilities, the group added.

Amnesty: UN resolution important but insufficient
9:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

In response to the UN Security Council's adoption of the compromise resolution calling for "urgent steps to immediately allow safe and unhindered and expanded humanitarian access" to Gaza and creating "the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities", Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, said

"This is a much-needed resolution - all efforts to address the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza must be welcomed, but it remains woefully insufficient in the face of the ongoing carnage and extensive destruction wrought by the government of Israel’s attacks in the occupied Gaza Strip. Nothing short of an immediate ceasefire is enough to alleviate the mass civilian suffering we are witnessing.

"The vote on the resolution - which was watered down significantly from earlier versions to avoid a US veto fails to call for an immediate halt in the fighting, instead including a call to ‘create conditions’ for a cessation of hostilities. Given the staggering death toll - with more than 20,000 killed in over two months, and the horrifying scale of destruction and devastation in Gaza this is simply unacceptable.

"It is disgraceful that the US was able to stall and use the threat of its veto power to force the UN Security Council to weaken a much-needed call for an immediate end to attacks by all parties."

UN Security Council resolution on Gaza 'good news': UK
8:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

The British government has described the UN Security Council resolution on Gaza as "good news", reiterating calls for a "sustainable ceasefire".

"It is good news that the UN has come together to back a resolution to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza," UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said.

"Crucially, the resolution also calls for steps towards a sustainable ceasefire," Cameron said.

"This is an outcome that I advocated for last week along with the German Foreign Minister and strongly think is the right approach."

Cameron said that reaching an agreement within the UN had been "a difficult process" but that there was now "greater unity and purpose" about what needs to happen to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Israel continues to bombard southern Gaza despite new orders
7:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has continued to attack southern Gaza areas in the last hour, despite issuing new evacuation orders to residents of Bureij to move to Deir el-Balah.

In the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Khan Younis has been turned into a complete battle zone between the Palestinian fighters and Israeli troops.

The area has been under mass Israeli shelling in the last hour, with five Palestinians reportedly killed in the destruction of a residential building.

Rafah, which is already overwhelmed and densely populated with displaced Palestinians, has also been attacked during the last couple of days. Earlier today, five Palestinians were killed after an attack in its central area.

How UN Security Council members voted
6:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

Here is how the UN Security Council members voted on the draft resolution:

Thirteen in favour: Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, the UAE, China, France, the UK

  • Two abstentions: The US and Russia
  • No votes against
Israel's UN envoy dismisses UN Security Council resolution
6:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan said the UN's focus "only on aid mechanisms to Gaza is unnecessary and disconnected from reality" during an address at the Security Council meeting.

"Israel is already allowing aid deliveries at the required scale," he alleged, adding that “the UN should have focused on the humanitarian crisis of the hostages".

Erdan also thanked the US for its support during negotiations on the resolution, which according to him kept in place Israel’s ability to continue inspecting aid that enters Gaza.

UN says Israeli offensive real problem in Gaza aid delivery
5:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday, following a Security Council vote demanding aid deliveries at scale, that Israel's offensive was the "real problem... creating massive obstacles" to humanitarian shipments.

"The real problem is that the way Israel is conducting this offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza," he said. "A humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to begin to meet the desperate needs of people in Gaza and end their ongoing nightmare."

UN Security Council votes to boost aid to Gaza
5:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to approve a resolution that "demands" all sides in the war in Gaza to allow the "safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale."

The UN also called for urgent steps "to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities" after a week of vote delays and intense negotiations to avoid a veto by the United States.

Russia and the United States, which both could have vetoed the much-delayed measure as permanent members of the council, abstained, meaning it passed with 13 votes in favor.

Following high-level negotiations to win over Washington, the resolution no longer dilutes Israel's control over all aid deliveries to 2.3 million people in Gaza. Israel monitors the limited aid deliveries to Gaza via the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing.

The statement however, doesn't call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and instead said to "create the conditions" for one.

Lebanon rocket fire kills Israeli soldier: army
4:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli army says Lebanon rocket fire has killed a soldier, amid intensified border clashes between the countries.

96% of Saudis back Arab states cutting ties with Israel
4:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

96 percent of Saudis reportedly believe that Arab countries should cut their ties with Israel in response to the Tel Aviv's military aggression in Gaza, that has killed over 20,000 people, results of a new poll have shown.

The poll, conducted by the Washington Institute for Near Eat Policy, could be a blow to the Biden's administration's efforts to help broker ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, which was in the pipeline before the war on Gaza broke out on October 7.

1,000 Saudis were surveyed between November 14 and December 6.

16 percent reportedly backed a two-state solution, according to the survey.

67% of Israelis in favour of hostage swap deal, ceasefire
3:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sixty-seven percent of Israelis are in favour of  swap deal that would see the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners that would bring about a ceasefire in Gaza, according to a Lazar Institute poll published by Israeli daily Maariv.

About 22 percent of respondents said they were opposed to the swap and ceasefire deal, while 11 percent of respondents said they were unsure.

The poll, done on a random sample of 502 Israelis with an estimated error rate of 4.3 percent, also said that 73 percent of Israeli agree to a ceasefire only after a deal has been reached, and only 11 percent agree to a ceasefire while negotiating.


Israeli settlers uproot olive trees in occupied West Bank
3:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli settlers uprooted dozens of olive trees today in the village of Qusra, located south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources on Friday.

Fuad Hassan, a local activist, said that the settlers plowed more than 30 dunums of land in the Al-Furn area north of the village and uprooted dozens of decades-old olive trees.

Top shipping firms impose surcharges after Red Sea rerouting
2:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

Two major shipping firms, Maersk and CMA CGM said they will impose additional charges to cover the costs of rerouting their ships in the Red Sea, where Israeli-affiliated ships have been attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

They are directing ships around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, adding about 10 days to a journey that would normally take about 27 from China to Northern Europe through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

A standard 20-foot container travelling from East Asia to Northern Europe will have an additional charge of $700. 

The companies announced an additional $325 for every 20-foot container on the North Europe to Asia route and $500 for a 20-foot container shipped from Asia to the Mediterranean.

Citing "severe operational disruption", Maersk said additional payments include an immediate transit disruption surcharge to cover extra costs associated with the longer journey as well as a peak season surcharge from January 1.

Two Palestinians wounded by Israel fire, detained near Jenin
2:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces wounded and detained two Palestinians during a raid into the town of Barta'a, to the southwest of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources.

The injured Palestinian men were identified as Ramzi Ibrahim and Mustafa Qabaha, and were shot in their lower limbs. The incident occurred as Israeli forces raided the town and confiscated several vehicles, leading to confrontations, the Palestinian official news agency Wafa said.

US dual national hostage has died, Israeli forum says
1:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A US dual national who was among some 240 people seized on October 7 by Hamas in southern Israel has died in captivity in the war-hit Gaza Strip, a group representing hostages' families said on Friday.

Gadi Haggai, 73, also held Israeli citizenship, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said. Drawing on various information sources, an Israeli government-appointed committee has been declaring some hostages dead in absentia.

Hamas has generally not confirmed these accounts, but has warned that "time is running out" for the hostages as Israel's war in Gaza nears its 12th week.

22 hostages have been killed out of the 129 Israelis still in captivity, the Israeli government says.

Israel dropped 2,000 pound bombs on Gaza in beginning of war
12:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel used 2,000 pound bombs capable of killing people 1,000 feet away during the first month of its military campaign in Gaza, a new analytical report by CNN and artificial intelligence company Synthetaic has shown.

Satellite imagery from the first days of the war reveals more than 500 impact craters over 12 meters (40 feet) in diameter, consistent with those left behind by 2,000-pound bombs. 

These bombs are four times heavier than the largest bombs the United States dropped on ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, during the war against the extremist group there.

“The use of 2,000-pound bombs in an area as densely populated as Gaza means it will take decades for communities to recover,” said John Chappell, advocacy and legal fellow at CIVIC, a DC-based group focused on minimizing civilian harm in conflict.

Putin, Abbas discuss Gaza war in phone call
12:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to discuss ways to de-escalate Israel's military onslaught in Gaza as well as humanitarian relief efforts, the Kremlin said.

It said the two men agreed that Abbas would visit Russia at a date to be agreed.

Lebanon ready to apply UN resolution if Israel complies: PM
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon is ready to implement a UN resolution that would help end Hezbollah's cross-border attacks on Israel if Israel also complies and withdraws from disputed territory, Lebanon's prime minister said Friday.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, called for the removal of armed personnel south of Lebanon's Litani River, except for UN peacekeepers and the Lebanese army and state security forces.

The solution to the current cross-border hostilities "is the implementation of international resolutions", including Resolution 1701, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement.

"We are totally ready to commit to their implementation, on condition the Israeli side does the same, and withdraws - according to the international laws and resolutions - from occupied territory," he added.

CJP accuses Israel of targeting Gaza journalists, families
11:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPS) has accused the Israeli army of deliberately targeting journalists and their families in the war-hit Gaza.

The war, ongoing since October 7, has killed over 60 Palestinian journalists.

The New York-based CPJ said that "more journalists have been killed in the first 10 weeks of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year."

The NGO said it was concerned over an apparent pattern of targeting journalists and their families by the Israeli military.

CPJ cited examples such as the killing of the 90-year-old father of Al Jazeera journalist Anas Al-Sharif by an Israeli drone strike on his home, after multiple threats were made to his son.


Over 60 journalists have been killed, with the majority being Palestinian [Getty]
Israeli army targets Hezbollah positions in Lebanon
11:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have attacked Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, including military sites and infrastructure belonging to the armed group.

The air attacks come after the Israeli military said that a barrage of 24 rockets was fired from Lebanon towards southern Israel.

EU adopts 118 mln euros aid plan for Palestinian Authority
11:27 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Commission on Friday said it had adopted a 118 million euros ($130 million) aid package to support the Palestinian Authority.

The commission said the aid would help pay salaries and pensions of civil servants in the West Bank, social allowances for vulnerable families and the payment for medical referrals to East Jerusalem hospitals. 

Israel forces attack worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque
10:43 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli soldiers have reportedly assaulted worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, attacking them with teargas which has left scores suffering from tear gas inhalation.

The confrontations occurred in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, adjacent to the holy site, the Palestinian official news agency Wafa said, as worshipers gathered for Friday prayers.

The forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters and doused the crowd with contaminated water to disperse them, causing several injuries, local witnesses said.

Israel has barred worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa for the 11th week in a row [Getty]
Palestinian prisoners retell horrors from Israeli prisons
9:59 AM
Sally Ibrahim

Recently-released Palestinian from Gaza have recounted their stories of torture and abuse at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

Read more from The New Arab's correspondent in Gaza here.

Int'l Trade Union group calls for immediate Gaza truce
9:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

Participants in the Central Council session of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), held in Brussels, have called for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, saying it was a top priority for the international community.

In their concluding statement, the attendees called on the United Nations to promptly and urgently recognise the State of Palestine as a full UN member. 

Over 20,000 Palestinians killed since October 7: MoH
8:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The death toll in the war-battered and besieged Gaza Strip has reached 20,057, the ministry of health confirmed on Friday.

53,320 people have been injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, it added.


A man reacts in distress as he buries loved ones killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza [Getty]
Israel detaining PRCS medical staff members
8:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel forces are currently detaining at least eight Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) staff members from inside the Jabalia ambulance centre, the organisation said, subjecting them to torture and beatings.

A number of PRSC team members have been released since.

The PRCS said it "strongly condemns the targeting, arresting and assaulting of its teams", while it urgently calls on the international community to "apply pressure for the immediate release and protection of its staff in Gaza".

Dozens of casualties reported in Gaza's Jabalia
8:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli strikes have reportedly killed dozens in Gaza's northern city of Jabalia, as well as its refugee camp on Friday.

Approximately 30 victims were killed over the past 24 hours in the town, including several children, with scores reportedly injured.