Security Council Pushes Vote on Gaza Fighting and Aid to Thursday

The United Nations Security Council pushed off to Thursday a highly anticipated vote on a resolution calling for a halt in fighting in the war in Gaza and a major increase aid deliveries. The delay was at the request of the United States to allow more time for more negotiations, according to diplomats.

The postponement came after intense closed-door consultations failed to bring the United States and other members of the Council closer to a consensus. A major sticking point has been the question of whether the United Nations should take over from Israel the inspection of shipments of food, water, fuel and other aid going into Gaza, diplomats say.

The Council moved into closed consultations around noon on Wednesday, when the vote was originally scheduled. Hours later, the vote was delayed to 10 a.m. Eastern on Thursday. It was the second time in two days that a vote on the resolution had been pushed into the next day to allow for more closed-door talks aimed at finding a formula the United States and Israel will accept.

“We want to see a humanitarian cease-fire, we want to see the guns fall silent so we can reach the people of Gaza who need the most help right now,” said Stéphane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General’s office on Wednesday.

Some diplomats on the Council said they were growing frustrated with the United States’s repeated requests for delays and that it appeared unlikely that Washington would ultimately allow the resolution to pass.

The American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, said at a news conference in Washington that the White House’s goal was to negotiate a resolution that “actually advances” efforts to deliver aid “and doesn’t do anything that could actually hurt the delivery of humanitarian assistance, or make it more complicated.”

“I hope we can get to a good place,” he said.

The resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, calls for a major increase in humanitarian aid to be delivered by not just by trucks traveling overland, but on ships and aircraft.

Israel has been pressuring the United States to reject putting the U.N. in charge of inspections, because it would effectively leave Israel with no role in screening the shipments, diplomats familiar with the negotiations said.

One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic talks, said that without Israel’s cooperation any Security Council resolution, even if it passed, would be difficult to implement, and Washington’s would not approve a resolution that removed Israel from the inspection process.

Security Council resolutions are legally binding on members of the United Nations, but as a practical matter, Israel could choose to ignore the measure.

United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which is not on the Council but whose border is used for the majority of aid deliveries, had insisted on a U.N. inspection system to streamline and speed up aid delivery, diplomats said.

The two Arab nations have argued that it is impossible to scale up the aid deliveries to the levels needed with the current system. Currently, aid trucks that enter Gaza each day travel from Egypt to Kerem Shalom in Israel for inspection, then return to Egypt and snake their way to the Rafah border — a process that many diplomats and U.N. officials say is too slow. On Sunday, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing some aid trucks to enter the strip from Israel.