ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The UNSC Resolution and Israel’s US-granted Impunity

The international community must conceive possible diplomatic actions that subvert the hegemonic veto powers and make Israel comply with legal and moral norms.

That Israel continues its aggression over beleaguered and besieged Gaza, unyielding to the global calls for an immediate ceasefire, is a measure of the sheer impunity that it enjoys. The evident source of this impunity was once again laid bare, with the United States (US) vetoing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. The vote on the resolution was due to the rare instance of the invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter by the United Nations Secretary General. The article mandates that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” It should be noted that the US veto to the UNSC resolution for a humanitarian pause, moved on 18 October, had delayed such a pause by about five weeks, which witnessed the catastrophic loss of civilian lives at an unprecedented pace along with the targeting of hospitals in Gaza and effective blockade on aid in essential resources, such as water, food, fuel and medical supplies, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. The negotiated pause, which also led to the mutual release of hostages/prisoners, ultimately proved to be just that—a pause in the spate of death of destruction renewed vigorously by Israel from 1 December. The Gazans who have had to flee to the south are facing intensified aggression in south Gaza and are being cornered into a life of starvation and disease.  

The platitudinous calls from the US Department of State for maximum restraint to protect civilian lives and its velvet-gloved admonishments have gone completely unheeded by Israel. Glaring acts of indiscriminate killing of civilians, which include targeting of academicians, journalists along with relief workers and attacks on civilian infrastructure, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) establishments such as schools and shelters have continued apace. Israel knows fully well that these calls or admonishments from the US are not being backed by any actionable intent. After all, while making murmurs about civilian lives, the US administration has sought to expedite sending additional ammunition to Israel, bypassing the normal procedures of the Arms Export Control Act. These procedures would involve congressional scrutiny where the issues of the nature of the usage of this ammunition and flagrant violations of humanitarian as well as international legal norms by Israel could prove to be thorny and put the administration in an uncomfortable situation and may put conditionalities. It is being posited that the magnitude of the bombing since October is such that without the expeditious arms supply, Israel would be forced to cease the aggression within a few days. But the arms supply is meant to be unconditional, not the concern for civilian lives.

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Updated On : 23rd Dec, 2023
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