UNSC Adopts Resolution Demanding Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza


In a significant move, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a resolution urging an immediate ceasefire throughout the month of Ramadan. The resolution also calls for the unconditional release of hostages and emphasizes the critical need to enhance humanitarian aid flow into Gaza.

The resolution garnered support from 14 member nations, while the United States notably abstained from voting. This decision underscores escalating tensions between Washington and Israel, culminating in the most formal rebuke from the US towards its long-standing ally.

The Muslim holy month began on 10 March and is set to finish on 9 April – meaning the council is calling for a two-week ceasefire, though the proposal said the pause in fighting should lead “to a permanent sustainable ceasefire”. Over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during the fighting, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

“The Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages’ the UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote on X (formerly Twitter), adding: “This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable.”

Earlier, Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution that would have supported “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

The security council had adopted two resolutions on the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza since the start of the war but the proposal placed on March 22 marked the first time the US has backed a resolution containing the word “ceasefire” – reflecting a toughening of the Biden administration’s stance towards Israel.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US’s decision to let the resolution pass did not mean a “shift in our policy”. Kirby underscored the US backed a ceasefire but did not vote in favor of the resolution because the text did not condemn Hamas.

The Biden administration’s criticism of Israel’s conduct in the conflict has been ongoing since December. With the UN warning of a looming famine in Gaza, and amidst growing frustration over Israel’s military actions, Washington’s evolving stance reflects broader international pressure for a swift and sustainable resolution to the conflict.

Reacting sharply to the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned visit to Washington by a delegation as “the US withdrew from its consistent position”, and called the US’s abstention a “clear retreat”.

In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said: “The US did not veto the new text that calls for a ceasefire without the condition of releasing the abductees.”

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