UN Security Council adopts Malta resolution calling for ‘extended humanitarian pauses’ in Gaza

Malta resolution calling for 'humanitarian pauses' in Gaza for a ‘sufficient number of days’ is approved by the UN Security Council • This is the first resolution to pass after four previous failed attempts

Malta's Foreign Minister Ian Borg says the country has listened to UNSC members and other parties to ensure a 'balanced and operational text' (File photo)
Malta's Foreign Minister Ian Borg says the country has listened to UNSC members and other parties to ensure a 'balanced and operational text' (File photo)

Updated at 9:55pm with vote result

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution drafted by Malta calling for "extended humanitarian pauses" in Gaza to allow safe passage for humanitarian aid.

There were 12 votes in favour, three abstentions and none against. The council defeated a Russian attempt to introduce an amendment to the Malta draft, calling for a ceasefire.

The resolution calls for these pauses to be for a “sufficient number of days” to enable UN agencies and other international humanitarian organisations deliver “sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services”.

This is the first resolution to be approved by the Security Council after four previous failed attempts.

After the vote the US representative praised Malta for its leadership in getting this resolution through. This was a step forward, she said, although she regretted it did not include condemnation of Hamas. She underlined the importance of saving innocent lives and having all hostages released. She also called for a sustained peace where Israelis and Palestinians were able to live side by side and Gaza was not used for attacks on Israel.

Foreign Minister Ian Borg tweeted that Malta's efforts were "guided by the need to have a humanitarian resolution". "We are determined to continue working towards peace," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, soon after the vote was taken. He singled out Malta's UN ambassador Vanessa Frazier for praise.

Earlier, Borg said Malta had "listened to Council members and other interested parties to ensure a balanced and operational text".

The resolution specifies that essential goods and services include water, electricity, fuel, food, medical supplies, and emergency repairs to essential infrastructure. It also calls for pauses to enable urgent rescue and recovery efforts, including for missing children in damaged and destroyed buildings.

All throughout, the resolution makes repeated references to children and the need to safeguard them.

The resolution demands that “all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians, especially children”.

It also calls for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children”.

The text also calls on “all parties to refrain from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance indispensable to their survival, consistent with international humanitarian law, which has a disproportionate impact on children”. It also welcomes the “initial, although limited, provision of humanitarian supplies to civilians in the Gaza Strip”.

The resolution does not condemn Hamas’s 7 October attacks on Israel and neither does it condemn Israel’s aggressive retaliation in Gaza.

It does however, “stress” that taking hostages is prohibited under international law, “expresses deep concern” at the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and “rejects” the forced displacement of the civilian population.

The resolution requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution at the next meeting concerning the Middle East. It also asks the Secretary-General to “identify options to effectively monitor” the implementation of the resolution.

The UNSC had so far failed to approve four draft resolutions since the 7 October attacks on Israel that precipitated the ongoing conflict.

The Hamas attacks killed more than 1,200 Israelis and some 250 people were taken hostage. Israel responded by blockading the Gaza Strip, bombing the territory and sending ground troops into northern Gaza to fight Hamas militants.

Israel’s aggression has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 4,000 children. Thousands more have been injured as hospitals in Gaza run out of supplies and fuel to be able to power up important medical equipment.