UN Security Council to vote on Gaza humanitarian pause for aid access amid Israeli bombing

UN Security Council to vote on Gaza humanitarian pause for aid access amid Israeli bombing
The UN Security Council will vote on Wednesday on a resolution urging humanitarian pauses allowing Gaza access to aid amid ongoing Israeli bombardment on the besieged enclave.
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Residents in Gaza are in dire need of food, water and fuel following a complete siege imposed by Israel [Getty]

The United Nations Security Council will now vote on Wednesday on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in Israel's war on Gaza to allow humanitarian aid access to the besieged enclave.

The council is then expected to discuss - at the request of the United Arab Emirates and Russia - a Gaza hospital blast reportedly carried out by Israel that killed at least 500 people on Tuesday, diplomats said.

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour blamed Israeli forces for the "massacre" at the hospital, calling for an immediate ceasefire, while Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan issued a statement claiming the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group of responsibility.

Islamic Jihad has denied the allegations, calling Israel's claims "lies."

The 15-member council had initially been due to vote Monday on the Brazilian draft, but it was postponed 24 hours to allow more time to negotiate. The United States then pushed for a further delay as President Joe Biden visits Israel on Wednesday.

It was unclear if the United States, a veto power that traditionally shields its ally Israel from any Security Council action, would allow the resolution to pass. The draft text also urges Israel - without naming it - to rescind its order for Gaza civilians to evacuate to the south of the Palestinian enclave.

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Israel last week ordered some 1.1 million people in Gaza - almost half the population - to move south as it prepares for a ground offensive in retaliation for the surprise cross-border attack carried out by Hamas on October 7.

The Brazilian draft is essentially a more detailed version of a Russian text that failed to pass in a vote on Monday, except it specifically condemns "the terrorist attacks by Hamas". Instead of calling for a ceasefire, it calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict to allow aid access to Gaza.

Israel has put Gaza under a total siege and subjected it to the most intense bombardment ever. Israeli strikes have killed at least 3,300 Palestinians, including over 1,000 children with the death toll likely to rise. At least 13,000 are wounded - many critically.

(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)