The United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, after permanent member and Israel ally the United States vetoed measure.
The resolution, proposed by the United Arab Emirates, was put up for a vote after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked a rarely used measure on Wednesday that allows the UN chief to bring to the council any issue that “may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
In a letter to UN Security Council President Jose Javier De la Gasca Lopez Dominguez, Guterres cited Article 99 of the UN Charter and called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
The 15-member body had been set to vote on the resolution on Friday morning, but the vote was postponed to the afternoon due to lack of support from the United States, Reuters reported.
Four previously proposed resolutions that called for halting the fighting have also failed to garner support from the council, with the US vetoing several resolutions for failing to condemn Hamas and not mentioning Israel’s right to self-defense. Only one resolution was successfully adopted: On Nov. 15, a Malta-led resolution calling for humanitarian “pauses” saw 12 nations vote in favor and the United States, United Kingdom and Russia abstain.
The vote came as the humanitarian situation in Gaza reaches catastrophic levels. Nearly 1.9 million people have been displaced in the territory, amounting to almost 85% of the prewar population. Electricity is only available via fuel-powered generators, and just 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are functional, according to a Wednesday update from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 17,000, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said Thursday, and 46,000 Palestinians have been injured.
Also on Friday, the European Council added two Hamas commanders — Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa — to the EU terror list. Deif is the commander of the group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and Issa is its deputy commander.
“The two individuals are subject to the freezing of their funds and other financial assets in EU member states. It is also prohibited for EU operators to make funds and economic resources available to them,” the European Council said in a statement.
The decision came three days after France announced it was freezing the assets of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar for six months. Sinwar is believed to be one of the key architects of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people.
Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Rina Bassist, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.
Live updates (all times EDT):
Friday, Dec. 8, 2023
1:23 pm: Hamas says it foiled Israeli attempt to rescue hostage
Hamas' armed wing said in a statement that it thwarted an attempt by Israeli forces to reach a hostage in Gaza. One Israeli hostage was killed in the ordeal, the group said in a statement on Telegram. Later, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that two Israeli soldiers were injured in an attempt to retrieve hostages in Gaza. Adam Lucente reports.
11:27 am: Arab, Turkish FMs call for immediate cease-fire, slam US ahead of UNSC vote
Speaking alongside the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey at a press conference in Washington, D, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, saying that the debate over timing of the UN Security Council’s vote on a resolution is “inexplicable.”
“Two weeks is too long,” the top Saudi diplomat said in reference to reports that the United States has pressed Israel to limit the campaign’s duration. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that a mass displacement of Gazans out of the enclave would be unacceptable and constitute a “war crime.”
10:47 am: War monitor says Israeli drone attack kills 4 in Syria
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that four people were killed in an Israeli drone attack on a car in the city of al-Baath, located in southwest Syria’s Quneitra governorate.
A security source told Reuters the bodies have yet to be identified due to their burned condition. The Israeli military declined to comment to the outlet.
Israel is suspected of carrying out regular strikes on Iran-linked as well as Syrian military targets in the country.
9:15 am: Israeli army intercepts 'suspicious aerial target' from Lebanon
The Israeli army said it intercepted a “suspicious aerial target” that entered Israeli airspace from south Lebanon. Cross-border fire between the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and Israeli forces continues along the Israeli-Lebanese border amid the ongoing Hamas-Israel war. Last weekend, Hezbollah claimed an attack on the Khirbat Maer military post in north Israel. Israeli artillery shelling was also reported on several towns and areas in south Lebanon.
9:00 am: EU adds Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif, deputy to terror list
The Council of the European Union decided Friday to add Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif and his deputy Marwan Issa to its terrorist list. The council said in a statement that the “decision comes as part of the European Union’s response to the threat posed by Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel,” adding that the sanctions are effective immediately. The sanctions include a freeze on their funds and other financial assets in EU member states and a ban on EU operators making funds and other economic resources available to them.
1:56 am: Israeli military struck 450 targets in Gaza over past day
The Israeli military carried out strikes on more than 450 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past day, said spokesperson Daniel Hagari, adding that the sites included military compounds, observation posts and weapons depots, as well as a group of Hamas fighters preparing to launch rockets at Israel. Hagari noted that the Israeli navy had hit sites belonging to Hamas naval forces in central and southern Gaza. Two Israeli reserve soldiers were killed overnight in battles with Hamas in Gaza.
1:29 am: At least six Palestinians killed in Israeli raid of West Bank refugee camp
At least six Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank's al-Faraa refugee camp, according to the Ramallah-based Health Ministry. Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and snipers stormed the camp in northern Nablus, leading to heavy clashes with residents. The Israeli army has intensified its raids into West Bank towns and cities since the Hamas-Israel war erupted Oct. 7, killing at least 266 Palestinians.
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023
9:46 pm: Explosions, sirens near US Embassy in Baghdad
Incoming fire alarms and suspected sounds of impact were heard near Union III and the embassy compound, a US military official confirmed to Al-Monitor. US officials are still confirming what type of attack occurred and whether any damage or casualties resulted.
2:57 pm: Pentagon notes pause in attacks on US troops in Iraq, Syria
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said there haven’t been drone or rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria over the past 24 hours. The reason for the apparent pause is unclear.
Bases used by US troops in Iraq and Syria have come under rocket and drone attacks at least 78 times amid the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. On Sunday, a US drone killed five members of an Iran-backed militia near Kirkuk in a pre-emptive strike, as the fighters were preparing to launch an attack drone, officials said.
2:30 pm: Pentagon chief speaks with Saudi defense minister about Houthi maritime attacks
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Khalid bin Salman, by phone today about “Houthi threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea,” the Pentagon confirmed.
The call comes just days after Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels fired four ballistic missiles at three commercial cargo ships in the Red Sea, prompting the United States to seek the support of allies to ramp up naval patrols around the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait.
“Austin conveyed his desire to work with all nations who share an interest in upholding the principle of freedom of navigation and ensuring safe passage for global shipping,” the Pentagon said in a press release.
1:03 pm: Israeli farmer killed by Hezbollah missile
Eyal Ozan,a farmer from Kibbutz Gesher Haziv, in the Upper Galilee, was killed Thursday in his apple orchard near the Lebanese border when an anti-tank missile hit the vehicle he was driving. The Israeli military said IDF jets had attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon after rocket and missile fire toward Israel during the day. The military also said that sirens had sounded earlier in the evening in the Golan Heights region, warning of firing from Syria.
1:00 pm: Clashes between Jerusalem police, far-right activists
Clashes broke out in the evening between police and far-right Israeli activists marching outside Jerusalem’s Old City and calling for an end to the Muslim Waqf's authority over the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound and for Jewish sovereignty over it, reports Haaretz. The march was authorized, but police said that participants did not respect the conditions agreed to before the event, shouted racist slogans and advanced in an unauthorized manner toward the Damascus Gate.
11:48 am: Pentagon resumes intel drone flights over Gaza in hostage search
The Pentagon has resumed flying drones to gather intelligence to inform potential hostage rescue operations, a spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. The drone flights over Gaza ceased during the seven-day pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas, defense officials said. The Pentagon has said it is not assisting the Israeli military with targeting in its campaign against Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.
11:10 am: Son of Israeli war cabinet minister killed in Gaza
Gal Eisenkot, the son of war cabinet minister and former Israeli military chief Gadi Eisenkot, was killed in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said. Another soldier, Jonathan David Deutch, was also killed in a gunfight in southern Gaza. Rina Bassist reports.
3:08 am: Dozens killed in Israeli airstrikes on Rafah
At least 20 people, including children, were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a house in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Intense bombardment on the city was reported overnight. Hundreds of thousands of people are crammed into Rafah, which Israel has declared a “safe zone” as it widens its offensive in the south.
2:50 am: Israeli shelling strikes towns in southern Lebanon
The Israeli military shelled and carried out airstrikes on several towns in southern Lebanon, including Tayr Harfa, Dhaira, Alma al-Shaab, Markaba and Wadi Slouki, the National News Agency reported. Earlier, Hezbollah had claimed an attack on the Ramim barracks and al-Marj military post in northern Israel. The border between Lebanon and Israel has been the site of heavy exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah since the Gaza war erupted Oct. 7.
2:48 am: US envoy says still hope for Israeli-Saudi normalization
US energy envoy Amos Hochstein said it was still possible to achieve Israeli-Saudi normalization despite the ongoing war in Gaza and stressed the Biden administration's commitment to this goal. “I think that not every road is a straight road and sometimes it goes in different directions first. But the goal is still the same,” Hochstein told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry event in the United Arab Emirates. “And we remain as committed to that goal of regional integration, and it's not just about Saudi Arabia and Israel, it has to be much broader than that.” US-mediated talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize relations were suspended after the war in Gaza erupted.
2:00 am: Two Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza Strip as military fights in Khan Yunis, Jabalia
Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that two Israeli soldiers had died the previous day following fights with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He also said that the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas had engaged in battles overnight in Khan Yunis, in the south, and in Jabalia, in the north. In both locations, IDF soldiers were said to have uncovered tunnel shafts and ammunition.