The UN Security Council is expected to meet on Friday to discuss the Israeli onslaught in Gaza after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time during his tenure, which started in 2017.
Article 99 allows the UN chief to bring a matter to the attention of the Security Council that he believes threatens “international peace and security.” While invoking the rule, Guterres repeated his call for a “humanitarian ceasefire.”
The Biden administration has rejected the idea of a ceasefire and blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for one back in October. The US, which holds veto power as a permanent member of the 15-nation council, eventually allowed a resolution to pass that called for “humanitarian pauses.”
Guterres and other UN officials have said Israel’s renewed onslaught has made relief efforts impossible. More aid trucks had been allowed into Gaza during the week-long truce that enabled hostage releases, but the current Israeli operations have halted most aid deliveries.
Guterres said the UN “is simply unable to reach those in need in Gaza” and noted that at least 130 UN employees have been killed by the Israeli bombardment. UN officials have also said no place is safe in Gaza despite Israel’s claim of establishing safe zones, and Palestinians on the ground say there’s no safe place to evacuate.
In response to Guterres’ actions, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen accused the UN chief of supporting Hamas. “Guterres’ tenure is a danger to world peace,” Cohen wrote on X. “His request to activate Article 99 and the call for a ceasefire in Gaza constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization.”