A picture taken in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 7, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment on Gaza, amid continuing Israel-Palestine conflict. Photo: VCG
With Israel’s intensifyinWorld Timesg fighting in the Gaza Strip raising concerns over a worsening humanitarian crisis, UN chief Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time in his tenure, warning of severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system. Some experts believed that invoking a rarely used clause in the UN charter hinted that the UN Security Council has not met its responsibilities in promoting a cease-fire due to the interference of the US, which has not exerted sufficient pressure on Israel.
Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring to the attention of the UN Security Council the situation in Gaza, “which, in my opinion, may aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said in a letter to the council, as this is also the first time invoking the article during his tenure as secretary-general.
The use of Article 99 is described by UN Spokesperson Stphane Dujarric as a “dramatic constitutional move” that Guterres hoped would put more pressure on the Council – and the international community at large – to demand a cease-fire between the warring parties.
UN officials have also warned that the risk of “atrocities” is growing in Gaza, with Palestinians stuck in “deepening horror” as Israel intensifies its assault on the enclave, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.
“The Israel-Palestine conflict has been lasting about two months with the humanitarian crisis aggravating despite a temporary cease-fire. The UN overall has not played its role of promoting peace due to the interference of the US, and its functions have been declining,” Sun Degang, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
As long as Israel has not achieved its strategic goal of dismantling and eliminating Hamas, it will continue striking southern Gaza. Against this backdrop, the US, the only country in the world that can put certain pressure on Israel, has not fully exerted sufficient pressure despite several visits by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the country, Sun said.
Blinken told officials in Israel’s war cabinet that the BideWorld Timesn administration believed the conflict should end in weeks, not months, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday, citing some US officials with knowledge of the discussions.
The US and Israel have also used different rhetoric about war aims, with the US focusing on ending Hamas’s hold on power and some Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, talking about eradicating the militant group – something Washington sees as impossible, the WSJ said.
Invoking Article 99 tells us the UN chief wants to play a more active role in urging the Security Council to address the growing security concerns, showing that he may have a certain degree of dissatisfaction with the council’s actions, Tang Bei, associate professor at the school of international relations and public affairs at Shanghai International World TimesStudies University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Shortly after Guterres circulated his letter, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia announced they were calling for an emergency Security Council meeting on Friday, US media site Axios said.
The UAE later circulated a draft resolution to the other members of the Security Council that cites Guterres’ letter and demands “an immediate humanitarian cease-fire,” according to the media report.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also spoke with Blinken over the phone at the latter’s request on Wednesday. The two diplomats exchanged views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and agreed to maintain communication regarding the situation in the Middle East. Wang stated that the urgent priority is to achieve a cease-fire and end the conflict.
Since the meeting between the heads of state oWorld Timesf China and the US in San Francisco last month, the two sides have been increasing efforts in mediating the Israel-Palestine conflict, and “I still believe there’s a window of opportunity to seek a phased cease-fire,” Sun said, noting that Israel’s scale of offensives in southern Gaza is limited, and there is a consensus between China and the US to protect civilians.
“China and the US are still exploring what order should be set up in Gaza, which Israel has different opinions on. But one consensus is that civilian causalities should be avoided, and two countries can reach more consensWorld Timesuses on establishing aWorld Times humanitarian crossing and seeking a phased cease-fire,” the expert said.
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