What we know about UN draft resolutions on the Israel-Hamas war so far

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Albania's Foreign Minister Igli Hasani attend a meeting of the Security Council

After multiple failed attempts to pass resolutions on the Israel-Hamas war at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Malta’s UN Ambassador Vanessa Frazier has said the 10 elected members of the Council plan to put together a new draft.

The UNSC can adopt a resolution only if at least nine of its 15 members, including the five permanent ones, vote in favour of it and no veto is used by one of those five. A shortage of favourable votes and a veto from the United States has kept resolutions from manifesting so far.

Here’s what to know about the draft resolutions that failed to pass at the UNSC:

Russian-led draft resolution on October 16

  • Main points: Humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, release of all people taken into captivity since October 7, access to aid, and safe evacuation of civilians.
  • Voting: Five voted in favour (including China, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates), four voted against (France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the US), and six abstained (including Brazil, Ecuador, and Switzerland).
  • Main criticism by those opposed: The resolution did not name or condemn Hamas.
  • Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the West’s opposition crushed “global hopes” for the UNSC to end violence and stemmed from “selfish and political” interests.
  • US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the resolution was “dishonouring” victims and unfairly shifting blame for the conflict from Hamas to Israel.
  • Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of the Observer State of Palestine to the UN, urged the Council not to suggest “that Palestinian lives do not matter” and said Israel’s actions in Gaza are a “massacre”, not a military operation.
  • Gilad Erdan, permanent representative of Israel, said the Council stood at a “pivotal moment” in history, that Israel had the right to defend itself, and that all captives with Hamas should be released unconditionally.

Brazil-led draft resolution on October 18

  • Main point: “Humanitarian pauses” for full and unhindered aid into Gaza, condemnation of violence against all civilians, rescission of Israel’s evacuation order.
  • Voting: Twelve countries voted in favour, two (Russia, and the UK) abstained, while the US submitted the only opposing vote.
  • Vetoing on behalf of the US, Thomas-Greenfield said the resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defence. In light of President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel at the time, she added that diplomacy on the ground needed to “play out”.
  • Brazilian Ambassador Sergio Franca Danese said urgent measures were necessary, and regretted the Council’s inaction.
  • Abstaining member UK also said the text needed to mention Israel’s right of self-defence, and that they would continue to work on alleviating the humanitarian crisis.


US-led draft resolution on October 25

  • Main points: It called for a “humanitarian pause”, not a ceasefire, that would allow aid in Gaza. The text supported the “inherent right of all states” to self-defence, called for compliance with international law, and for Hamas to release all its captives.
  • Voting: Ten members voted in favour but two permanent members – Russia and China – vetoed the resolution. The UAE also voted against the resolution, while Brazil and Mozambique abstained.
  • Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US draft “incorporates substantive feedback”.
  • Thomas-Greenfield said the supply of aid to Gaza shows that diplomacy has worked over the past few days. She claimed that Russia’s text was based on “zero consultations” and expressed disappointment over vetoes against the US text.
  • China said the US draft was being “evasive” on the key issue of fighting and that their veto stemmed from “conscience” and “justice”.

Russia’s draft resolution on October 25

  • Main points: It called for Israel to immediately cancel their evacuation order for northern Gaza and did not mention Israel’s “inherent right to self-defence”.
  • Voting: Only four members (China, Gabon, Russia and UAE) voted in favour, the UK and US voted against, while nine members abstained.
  • Both the US and Russian drafts condemned Hamas’s attacks on Israeli civilians and called for the urgent provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
  • The UK said it wants the Council to work towards a “balanced text” and that the Russian draft failed to support Israel’s right to self-defence.
  • China said because the US text did not address the root cause of the crisis in Gaza or Israel’s blockade and evacuation order, it would be voting for the Russian draft.

Jordan’s draft resolution for the UN General Assembly

  • Jordan and other Arab states will be presenting a draft resolution on Friday to the UNGA’s emergency meeting on Israel-Gaza.
  • Main points: Immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Israel to revoke its call for northern Gaza’s evacuation, full and unhindered access to humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.
  • It will also call on parties to abide by international law and “the immediate release of all civilians”. The text refers to Israel as an “occupying power”, according to a version of the draft posted to X, formerly Twitter.
  • Although the resolution would not be binding like the UNSC’s, it will still be symbolic if passed.

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