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25 Mar, 2024 15:06

UN calls for ‘immediate’ Gaza ceasefire

While the US abstained from voting, the 14 other members of the Security Council supported the resolution
UN calls for ‘immediate’ Gaza ceasefire

The United Nations Security Council on Monday passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza to take place for the duration of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which concludes on April 9.

At the vote on Monday 14 members of the UNSC supported the resolution, while the US abstained.

The resolution also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and “the urgent need to expand the flow” of aid into Gaza.

Speaking after the vote, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield blamed Hamas for the delay in passing a ceasefire resolution.

“We did not agree with everything with the resolution,” she stated while clarifying the reasoning behind the US abstention.

“Certain key edits were ignored, including our request to add a condemnation of Hamas,” Thomas-Greenfield said. She stressed that the release of hostages will lead to an increase in humanitarian aid.

The US had previously vetoed three proposed UNSC resolutions on Gaza and abstained from two such votes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also threatened to cancel a planned visit to Washington if the US did not veto a proposal calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Reacting immediately after the vote, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the long-awaited resolution must be implemented and that a failure to do so “would be unforgivable.”

Russia attempted to amend the text by restoring it to an earlier draft which called for a “permanent” ceasefire, but the bid failed.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the fact that the word “permanent” in operative paragraph one was replaced with weaker language is “unacceptable.”

“We all received instructions for a vote on the text that contained the word ‘permanent’,” Nebenzia stated, pointing out that anything else could be seen as permission for Israel to continue its attacks.

The UNSC vote came amid growing international calls to bring the months-long conflict to an end.

Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7, after the militants carried out a cross-border raid, killing more than 1,100 people and taking at least 250 hostages. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s bombings and ground operations in Gaza since that time, according to the enclave’s health service.

Dozens of Israeli captives were subsequently freed through a series of swaps during a weeklong truce in November. However, around 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

According to the latest media reports, Israel has agreed to release up to 800 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 hostages still held by Hamas.