On 28 July, three weeks after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated their assault on the Gaza
Strip, code-named Operation Protective Edge, and one week after Jordan’s UN representatives began circulating a draft resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire, the UNSC agreed to a presidential statement expressing support for an unconditional humanitarian cease-fire.
The Obama administration has typically used the U.S. veto at the Security Council to restrict UN involvement in issues relating to Israel and Palestine (e.g., vetoing a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements and stymying the Palestinian bid for statehood with the threat of a veto in 2011); yet, it supported this statement. U.S. support was widely presumed to be based on the statement’s sponsorship of the Egypt-led cease-fire proposal, which the United States facilitated and Israel accepted. In a noteworthy departure from the norm, however, the United States signed onto the statement despite its reiteration of the principles of UNSC Resolution 1860, issued in 2009 during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which had met with a U.S. abstention.
As the assault continued into August 2014, the international press reported on rumors of a U.S.- and EU-sponsored proposal for a UNSC resolution establishing the parameters of a cease-fire deal that would address Israel’s security demands and lift restrictions on Gaza. No such resolution materialized and this presidential statement stands as the only formal UNSC response to the Israeli assault.
A presidential statement is adopted at a formal meeting of the UNSC and is issued as an official document. Although similar in content to UNSC resolutions, presidential statements are nonbinding and do not require unanimity.
The Security Council expresses grave concern regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties.
The Security Council calls for full respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilian population, and reiterates the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection.
The Security Council expresses strong support for the call by international partners and the secretary-general of the United Nations for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance, and they urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond. The Security Council commends the secretary-general of the United Nations and the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for their efforts in this regard.
The Security Council also calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative. In this regard, the Security Council welcomes the efforts of international partners and the convening of the international meeting to support the ceasefire held in Paris on July 26, 2014 and urges all concerned regional and international parties to vigorously support efforts to consolidate an agreement between the parties.
The Security Council emphasizes that civilian and humanitarian facilities, including those of the UN, must be respected and protected, and called on all parties to act consistently with this principle.
The Security Council calls for the full implementation of resolution 1860 (2009) and stressed the need for immediate provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, including through urgent additional contribution to UNRWA. The Security Council recognizes and commends the vital role played by the agency, along with other United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations, in addressing the critical humanitarian needs in Gaza.
The Security Council urges the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008).