A fragile peace was suddenly broken on the morning of October 7, 2023, when Hamas militants initiated a bold assault from the besieged Gaza Strip into adjacent Israeli towns, accompanied by a relentless barrage of rockets. This offensive, strategically timed during a significant Jewish holiday, tragically led to the loss of numerous Israeli civilian lives and the captivity of over 100 hostages, leaving both Israel and the global community profoundly dismayed. In swift retaliation, Israel responded with airstrikes directed at Gaza, resulting in the loss of hundreds of Palestinian lives, with a grim potential for further casualties.
The conflict continues with the military offensive by Hamas, followed by Israeli forces’ aerial operations on Israel. In light of this situation, a closed-door session of the United Nations Security Council was convened, yet the Council members were unable to reach a consensus on any course of action.
In light of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel that has persisted for the past week, the Security Council convened an emergency session on Sunday to deliberate upon the evolving situation. During this critical meeting, the United States called upon member nations to condemn the attacks by Hamas. Immediate and unanimous condemnation from all nations did not materialize.
The United States has categorically labeled Hamas’ actions as acts of terrorism. Following the Security Council session, Robert Wood, Deputy Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, emphasized this stance during a media interaction. It is worth mentioning that the Security Council comprises 15 members, including the permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Regarding the condemnation of Hamas’ attacks within the meeting, the U.S. Ambassador reiterated that not all Council members took such a position. On the other hand, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, clarified in an interview with the that during the Security Council’s session, the United States attempted to convey that Moscow did not condemn the attacks.
The Russian ambassador condemned all attacks on civilians in his statement. He clarified that Russia’s message is to immediately halt the conflict and cease hostilities. The Russian ambassador proposed meaningful negotiations to resolve the conflict, which has been hindered by decades of discord. Previously, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, expressed a similar stance during the Security Council session without specifically mentioning Hamas. He stated that Beijing condemns all attacks on civilians. He also reiterated the importance of halting the conflict at this moment to prevent further civilian casualties, he emphasized the need for a diplomatic resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood of the United States clarified that the U.S. is focused on condemning Hamas for its indiscriminate attacks and acts of terrorism. He urged Hamas to halt its violent actions against the Israeli populace.
The enduring conflict between Hamas and Israel underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive diplomatic resolution aimed at establishing enduring peace within the region. Achieving this objective necessitates a nuanced approach involving diverse stakeholders, notably regional powers.
At the forefront of this endeavor is an imperative to cease hostilities and violence. Hamas and Israel, as principal parties, must promptly agree upon a ceasefire to mitigate civilian casualties and foster an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue and negotiation. A pivotal element of a sustainable resolution involves engaging in substantive and inclusive negotiations. Encouragement and facilitation of direct dialogues between the conflicting parties by the international community, especially regional powers, is crucial. These negotiations should look into fundamental issues at the heart of the conflict, encompassing territorial disputes, security imperatives, and the Gaza Strip’s status. A long-term aspiration of a two-state solution, upholding the sovereignty and security of both Israel and a viable, independent Palestinian state, should guide these negotiations.
Significantly, regional powers, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are positioned to play a substantial role in mediating and facilitating these negotiations. Given their geopolitical influence and historical ties with the concerned parties, they present a conducive platform to nurture dialogue and build trust, a comprehensive economic and developmental agenda is imperative to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip and address the socio-economic challenges faced by the Palestinian population. Inclusive contributions from regional powers and the international community are vital to ensure sustainable development and stability within the region.
A robust diplomacy and the promotion of international cooperation are of paramount importance. The United Nations, with unwavering support from permanent Security Council members and regional powers, should actively oversee and facilitate the peace process. International organizations and non-governmental entities possess invaluable expertise and resources in humanitarian aid, reconstruction endeavors, and fostering cross-cultural understanding. Regional powers can exert significant influence through mediation, facilitation of negotiations, and active support in reconstruction initiatives, ultimately heralding a future of tranquillity and prosperity for the populations.