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U.N. resolution to increase Gaza aid doesn't include call for a cease-fire


The United Nations Security Council is calling for stepped-up aid deliveries to Gaza as humanitarian workers warn of famine. The council adopted a resolution after days of tough negotiations to avoid a U.S. veto. The U.S. says it wants to help the people of Gaza but also thinks Israel has a right to continue to fight Hamas there. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The ambassador of the United Arab Emirates visited the border between Egypt and Gaza last week, along with some other council diplomats. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh says she met a boy the same age as her son recovering from an Israeli airstrike.


LANA NUSSEIBEH: He told me he just wanted to go home and see his parents, and it was heartbreaking to hear from hospital staff that he had no idea that the strike that had wounded him had also killed every single member of his family.

KELEMEN: She drafted the resolution and spent days changing the text to avoid a U.S. veto. That meant not calling for a cease-fire even though that's what she and many others want.


NUSSEIBEH: Often, in diplomacy, the challenge is meeting the moment in the world we live in, not in the world that we want, and we will never tire in pushing for a full humanitarian cease-fire.

KELEMEN: The Biden administration vetoed previous U.N. calls for a cease-fire and was criticized around the world and in the U.S. This time, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield abstained in the vote, allowing the resolution to go through after what she called tough negotiations. She says she's still appalled that the council has not condemned Hamas for the October 7 attack on Israel, which started this latest round of violence.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It took many days and many, many long nights of negotiating to get this right. But today this council provided a glimmer of hope amongst a sea of unimaginable suffering.

KELEMEN: The resolution calls for urgent steps to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in Gaza and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he still believes that a humanitarian cease-fire is needed now. He says famine is looming in Gaza, and the hospital system is, in his words, on its knees.


ANTONIO GUTERRES: Humanitarian veterans who have served in war zones and disasters around the world, people who have seen everything, tell me they have seen nothing like what they see today in Gaza.

KELEMEN: And, he says, there's been no significant change in the way the war has been unfolding in Gaza. The U.S. has been pushing Israel to do more to protect civilians and move to more targeted operations against Hamas but says there's a gap between what Israel says it's doing on that front and the reality on the ground. But the Biden administration calls this a war of Hamas' making. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.


NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.