United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sounded a dire warning about the absence of effective protection for civilians in Gaza, urging the UN Security Council to advocate for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the ongoing Israel war on Gaza. Guterres urgently convened a UNSC meeting after weeks of intense fighting resulted in a devastating toll, with over 17,170 casualties reported in Gaza, predominantly among women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry. In response to the alarming situation, Guterres implored the international community to take decisive action, emphasising the critical need for a ceasefire to safeguard civilians and facilitate the prompt delivery of life-saving aid.
Utilising the rarely-invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, Guterres brought the matter to the attention of the Security Council, highlighting the potential threat to international peace and security. However, Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood conveyed that the United States did not support an immediate ceasefire, maintaining the position that negotiations with Israel and regional partners offered the best avenue for providing aid to Gaza. Responding to the urgency, the United Arab Emirates presented a draft resolution, labelling the humanitarian situation in Gaza as “catastrophic” and demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
The Security Council is slated to vote on this proposal, which also calls for the protection of civilians, the release of hostages, and humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip, with several prior ceasefire attempts having been vetoed.