Israel issued a fiery response to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ decision to invoke the rarely used Article 99 to warn the UN Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.
Guterres is expected to address the UNSC this week on Gaza and to press for a humanitarian ceasefire, which would strengthen the enclave’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and leave Israel open to an ongoing existential threat.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement, “The secretary-general’s call for a ceasefire is actually a call to keep Hamas’ reign of terror in Gaza,” Erdan said in a statement. “Instead of the secretary-general explicitly pointing to Hamas’ responsibility for the situation and calling on the terrorist leaders to turn themselves in and return the hostages, thus ending the war, the secretary-general chooses to continue playing into Hamas’ hands.”
Today, the Secretary-General has reached a new moral low. He writes that he is activating, for the first time, Article 99 of the UN Charter in relation to the Israel-Hamas war, an article that can only be invoked in a situation where international peace and security are… pic.twitter.com/rQm18aT1vq
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) December 6, 2023
Article 99 is used by the UN secretary-general to inform the UNSC of matters that he believes threaten international peace and security.
In concert with Guterres, Israel’s Abraham Accords “peace partner” the United Arab Emirates circulated a draft resolution to Council members late Wednesday, supporting the move and demanding “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” and expressing “grave concern over the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population.”
The resolution will likely fail because the United States, one of the five permanent members of the UNSC, is almost certain to veto the move. US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters on Tuesday that such a resolution at this point “would not be useful.”
Unsurprisingly, Article 99 has not been invoked for decades. It has not been used to prevent or halt at least six confirmed genocides since the year 2000 alone: not for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria by their own president’s regime, not over the genocide of the Yazidis by the Islamic State terror group, not over the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, nor the Uyghur genocide by China, among others.