The Irish Times view on the UN Security Council Gaza motion: slow progress

The slow, agonised distancing of the US from its key Middle East ally is an important subtext to the vote

The UN’s founding charter (Article 25) is unambiguous: “Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.” All resolutions of the Security Council are international law, a UN spokesman explained on Monday after the council, with the US abstaining, at last unanimously passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Legally binding perhaps, but in realpolitik, as with much international law, politically unenforceable without the consent and participation of all parties. Israel does not consent. And US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield sadly gave diplomatic cover to it by falsely referring to the “non-binding resolution”.

It remains clear the US will still use its veto should the UN move to enforce its ceasefire order. On Tuesday, Francesca Albanese, its rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, delivered a report calling for Israel to face an arms embargo over its acts of “genocide” in Gaza. That will not happen. On Thursday the UN’s International Court of Justice added to legal pressure on Israel with an order to increase humanitarian supplies in the face of famine in the territory. Israel has yet to respond.

Has anything been achieved this week in New York in bringing Israel to such diplomatic isolation? Israel’s aerial bombardment and its blockade of food and medicine continues. More than 32,000 Palestinians are dead, 1.7 million displaced, and many more will die as Israel’s extremist government ploughs on regardless.


And yet the slow, agonised distancing of the US from its key Middle East ally is an important subtext to the vote. Talks on a further ceasefire and the release of hostages are only continuing precariously because the US, the EU and international partners insist on setting them in a broader context of a medium-term pathway to Palestinian statehood that Israel rejects. And because of their willingness openly to criticise the discredited Netanyahu whose replacement is now a sine qua non of any peace deal.