Pressure mounts on US ahead of crucial UN vote on Israel

A UN Security Council vote has been delayed as people in Gaza continue to suffer under Israel's relentless bombing campaign, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

The UN Security Council will once again debate the conflict in Gaza on Wednesday, wrestling with a Resolution which seeks to end the war.

This time, the United Arab Emirates is putting forward a text which would seek an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities”.

In previous votes the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has wielded its veto because of the lack of condemnation of Hamas or because it wasn’t willing to back a ceasefire.

It has left America isolated - a lone voice against a ceasefire with only the UK abstaining and everyone else voting in favour in the last vote on December 8.

The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a similar resolution, by 153 votes to ten with 23 abstentions.

United Nations US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will vote later on Wednesday. Credit: AP

That decision was not legally binding, although some argue it carries a global moral authority.

The Security Council vote though carries much more legal weight, even if countries often ignore its instructions.

Behind the scenes intense wrangling has gone on over the last 24 hours, to alter the wording of the latest Resolution.

It’s anticipated it may be watered down, perhaps changing “cessation” to “suspension” to create the conditions for more hostages to be released including several Americans.

These linguistic arguments may sound pedantic but they are consequential.

The United States is alert to any wording which may hand a form of victory to Hamas.

When Lord Cameron talked about a “sustainable ceasefire” in the Sunday Times, he was alluding to a future for Gaza which doesn’t include Hamas.

Both the UK and US are keen to ensure a ceasefire isn’t turned into a propaganda victory for Hamas, with a continued ability to fire rockets at Israel and with much of its senior leadership still in place.

Many other countries are pushing to end the violence as quickly as possible before the death toll rises further.

While the vote in New York will be watched closely, the real restraint on Israel’s ability to wage this war comes from Washington.

The tone of the Biden Administration’s comments has shifted over the 73 days of the war.

Now each briefing is laced with mentions that Israel must transition to a more surgical phase of the conflict to minimise civilian casualties and an emphasis on a more targeted campaign.

Contrast that language, with the steadfast support two months ago and you get a sense of how the White House thinking has evolved in the face of a horrifying number of civilian casualties in Gaza.

Make no mistake, America still has Israel’s back; but it is now whispering a consistent message of restraint in her ear.

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