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Doubts over UN Security Council’s role in Gaza conflict

With gridlock in the United Nations Security Council, many are questioning their role in bringing an end to the conflict in Gaza.

UNITED NATIONS, New York: With the latest ceasefire in Gaza lasting all of 90 minutes, an end to the current conflict seems as distant as ever. With gridlock in the United Nations Security Council, many are questioning their role in bringing an end to the conflict.

Thursday's 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and United States lasted less than a few hours - little time for civilians to stock up on food or bury their dead.

Jeffrey Feltman, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said: "It's a tragic loss of opportunity for both sides to end the cycle of fear and suffering, and we need to find a way to get back to that."

According to Palestinian health officials, over 1,500 people in Gaza have been killed in the current fighting and many are urging the United Nations to do more. With major powers divided over what measures to take, the UN's Security Council has so far struggled to pass binding resolutions to help end the violence.

There has been considerable criticism of the Security Council lately, especially over its handling of the conflict in Syria. Even its recent UN resolution allowing greater aid into the country has been seen by some experts as simply a sideshow.

Richard Gowan, from NYU Center for International Cooperation, said: "It is a distraction from finding a political solution to the war. Very frankly, the Security Council's agreement on humanitarian issues is in some way an alibi for not having a real strategy for ending the killing overall.”

The recent strike on a UN shelter in Gaza did highlight the valuable work its agencies do in such conflicts. With the Security Council often gridlocked on the political front, experts say the UN still plays an invaluable role on the humanitarian side.

Professor Alon Ben-Meir, from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, said: "I'm hopeful only in the area where they can continue to provide humanitarian help, because the truth is the United Nations remains the only agency today, the only international agency, that can do so."

With the latest ceasefire collapsing, the UN's role on the ground in Gaza is set to intensify. As UN agencies work in Gaza, action is also to be taken on the political front. Despite what many see as the UN's limitations, they say they are committed to securing a ceasefire and a lasting peace to the confl 

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