The Secretary-General of the United Nations activates Article 99 regarding Gaza News of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

António Guterres warned of the worsening “disaster” in Gaza and called on the Security Council to act.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter and urged the UN Security Council to take action on the war in Gaza.

This rare step by the Secretary-General comes at a time when the Security Council has not yet adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire between Israel, Hamas and their allies.

The Security Council is the most powerful body in the United Nations, consisting of 15 members, and is charged with maintaining international peace and security.

In his letter to the Council President, Guterres noted this responsibility, saying he believed that the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories “may exacerbate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Guterres – who has been calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” since October 18 – also described the “horrific human suffering, physical devastation and mass trauma across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

In response to Guterres’ letter, the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Security Council, posted on X to say it had submitted a new draft resolution to the council, and “called for the urgent adoption of a humanitarian ceasefire resolution.”

See also  Biden supports extending the ceasefire in Gaza after Hamas released more hostages

If the Council chooses to act on Guterres’ advice and adopt a ceasefire resolution, it will have additional powers at its disposal to ensure the resolution is implemented, including the power to impose sanctions or authorize the deployment of an international force.

But the five permanent members of the council – China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France – have veto power.

The United States on October 18 vetoed a resolution that would have condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel while calling for a halt to the fighting to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. 12 other Council members voted in favor of the resolution, while Russia and the United Kingdom abstained from voting.

Disaster looms

Guterres said that the Security Council’s continued inaction and the sharp deterioration of the situation in Gaza forced him to activate Article 99 for the first time since he assumed the senior position at the United Nations in 2017.

He warned that public order in Gaza may soon collapse amid the complete collapse of the humanitarian system.

“The situation is rapidly deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible consequences for the Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region,” he wrote.

“Such an outcome must be avoided at all costs.”

See also  Moscow Victory Day: Russia revises annual parade as Putin's war in Ukraine comes under mounting pressure

But Guterres’ activation of Article 99 was not welcomed by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan.

In a post on X, Erdan described the letter as “further evidence” of Guterres’ “moral distortion and anti-Israel bias.”

“The Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire is in fact a call to preserve Hamas’ terrorist rule in Gaza,” said Erdan, who also reiterated his call for Guterres to resign.

The UN Charter grants only limited powers to the UN Secretary-General, who serves as the chief administrative officer of the UN and is elected by member states.

Article 99 of the United Nations Charter gives the Secretary-General the power to “draw the attention of the Security Council to any matter that he considers may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

“The fact that this tool has not been used since 1989 has diplomatic and symbolic resonance here in New York,” Daniel Forte, a senior UN advocacy and research analyst at the International Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera.

But Forte added that this “will not bring about a radical change in the political calculations of the most powerful members of the Security Council.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *