A UN Security Council vote on a resolution calling for a pause to the Israel-Hamas war was postponed again Tuesday, diplomatic sources said, as member states wrangled over wording while aid efforts in the Gaza Strip neared collapse.

Three diplomatic sources said the vote on the text, the latest version of which seen by AFP calls for the “suspension” of hostilities, had been pushed to Wednesday.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and sent in ground troops in an offensive that has killed 19,667 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

UN vote on suspension of hostilities

After the US blocked a resolution on December 8 for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the UN Security Council was meeting again for a new vote and struggling to find a unified voice on the Gaza war.

A draft text prepared by the United Arab Emirates called for “an urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities to allow unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip”.

But diplomatic sources say a new modified text is now on the table, calling for “the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities”.

Gaza ‘living hell’

Gaza’s health ministry said at least 20 Palestinians were killed in bombing of the southern city of Rafah, including four children and a journalist.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said Gazans forced to flee south have nowhere left to go and “are trapped in a living hell”.

After spending two weeks in Gaza, UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters in Geneva he was “furious” over the situation in Gaza.

Israel, meanwhile, said another of its soldiers was killed in Gaza, bringing the overall toll since October 7 to 132.

Hospital ‘out of action’

Al-Ahli hospital in northern Gaza, one of the last remaining facilities there, stopped operating after it was stormed and “put out of action” by Israeli forces, said its director Fadel Naim.

“We can’t receive any patients… (and) according to our information there are dozens of wounded in the surrounding streets,” he said.

Coalition to fight Red Sea attacks

The United States is pushing to build up a multinational naval task force to protect shipping from Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned the “unprecedented” spate of attacks in waters leading to the Suez Canal.

The Houthis remained defiant and threatened to attack ships of any country that acts against them.


Khalil Wakim, with AFP