Christmas, a time of happiness and peace for many of us, but people in the ‘holy land’ where Christmas started, are in a vicious war with no end in sight.
The greatest peacemaker of our time, UN Secretary-General and former Portuguese Prime minister, Antonio Guterres, has been doing everything he possibly can to bring about a cessation of hostilities, but the government of Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militants have both declared they are going to fight on to the bitter end and eradicate their opponents.
The Palestinian authorities say more than 20,000 people, half of them children or women, have been killed by the relentless Israeli bombardment since the Hamas massacre and seizure of hostages on October 7.
The latest United Nations Security Council resolution on the conflict was only agreed upon after a week of delays and indecisions. It contained no mention of the word “ceasefire” and has thus been widely described as “woefully insufficient” and “nearly meaningless.”
The delicately worded resolution does, however, suggest that “all parties immediately facilitate and enable safe and unhindered deliveries of humanitarian assistance to scale” to Palestinians in Gaza.
No Security Council members voted against the motion, but the United States and Russia abstained.
Mr Guterres was clearly disappointed by the wrangled outcome on Friday. He said: “ I hope that today’s Security Council Resolution will help the delivery if much-needed aid, but a humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to meet the desperate needs of people in Gaza and end their ongoing nightmare.”
Mr Guterres has long said the only sustainable way to end the century-old hatred and dispute between Israelis and Palestinians is a two-state solution. The current right-wing Israeli government rejects this outright.