A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Jordan is lobbying member states of the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the blockade.
The latest version of the draft resolution authored by Jordan and dated August 4 calls for the respect of previous Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 1860, which was passed in January 2009 toward the end of Operation Cast Lead, and calls for an end to the blockade and “intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling.”
Both parties ultimately ignored the resolution.
This draft resolution that Jordan has been circulating through the Security Council also calls for the respect of international humanitarian law and of the inviolability of UN facilities, and express “grave concern” over the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, particularly with regard to the sanitation infrastructure, water and medical facilities.
Echoing the requests in recent weeks by the secretary-general and UN aid officials, the resolution calls the current situation in Israel and Palestine “unsustainable” and emphasizes the need for a durable cease-fire.
Following a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon, Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar said that council members – particularly European member states – are making suggestions about language to add. The US is likely to use its veto power in the Security Council in this case.
Iona Thomas, the head of press for the UK Mission, whose ambassador Mark Lyall Grant is president of the Security Council, said Jordan had not initiated conversation about the resolution in the past week, since fighting had calmed a bit and attention turned to the Cairo talks on a cease-fire, and that there had been no push to pass the resolution in the council.
The draft resolution is still on the table and up for discussion, according to Thomas. The Jordanians have not withdrawn it, but they also have not called for a vote on the text.
Given the activity of the past few weeks, Thomas said that the August 4 draft resolution was outdated, and that she could not anticipate the Security Council voting on it without first making changes.
The UK Mission’s spokeswoman was not in the expert-level meetings to discuss the draft resolution, but she said she has not heard that a call for war crimes charges against Israel will be included.
In a letter to Grant dated August 20, PLO ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour demanded that the council look at Jordan's recent draft resolution and pass it quickly. The PLO ambassador wrote that the resolution "represents a sound basis for serious action to be taken and we urge the Council members to undertake this responsibility without delay."
The Palestinian ambassador also condemned Israel and called on the Security Council "to demand an immediate halt to the Israeli military aggression."
Palestinian officials have been jockeying to join the International Criminal Court in order to levy war crimes charges against Israel. The US has been urging the court not to open a case against Israel, and on Tuesday the State Department’s spokeswoman said she “cannot envision” a scenario in which the US would vote for a UN resolution calling for the ICC to charge Israel with war crimes.
Thomas said she has no reason to believe such language will be considered and added to this draft resolution by Jordan.
Though the Security Council is in agreement that a resolution regarding the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories must be passed, the member states are split about when the council should take action, according to the PLO’s deputy permanent observer to the UN, Feda Abdelhady.
“Saying that we have to wait for Cairo is not the Palestinian position, because we believe that the council should have acted from before, that they’re not parallel tracks. That one should have fed into the other,” Abdelhady said.
Nations on the Security Council that believe a resolution coming after a truce reached between the parties would strengthen that truce include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Lithuania and Rwanda, according to the PLO’s deputy permanent observer.