For first time, UNSC passes resolution calling for immediate Gaza ceasefire

US abstained from the vote

UNSC Gaza ceasefire resolution (File) The United Nations Security Council holds a ministerial level meeting on the crisis | Reuters

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution on Monday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after the United States abstained from the voting. During the holy month of Ramzan, it was the first time the UNSC demanded a ceasefire in Gaza. On previous occasions, the ceasefire resolution put forward in the UNSC was vetoed by the US. Meanwhile, following a change in the US's stance, Israel cancelled its planned visit to Washington. 

The resolution that passed was written by the 10 elected members of the council and proposed in the chamber by Mozambique’s representative.

Russia attempted to amend the text by restoring it to an earlier draft which included the word “permanent”, but the bid failed. 14 members of the UN Security Council voted for the resolution, while the US abstained.

"We have been clear, and we’ve been consistent in our support for a ceasefire as part of a hostage deal. That’s how the hostage deal is structured. We wanted to get to a place where we could support that resolution, but because the final text does not have key language that we think is essential like a condemnation of Hamas, we could not support it," White House spokesperson, John Kirby said.

Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant and other top officials were set to meet the US officials to hold talks on hostages, humanitarian aid and protecting civilians in Rafah. Despite criticism from many nations, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fixated on moving forward with the Rafah offensive.

The White House said that it was "very disappointed" that Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the high-level Israeli delegation's planned visit. "It’s disappointing. We’re very disappointed that they won’t be coming to Washington allow us to have a fulsome conversation with them about viable alternatives to them going in on the ground in Rafah," said Kirby. 

However, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin is likely to hold a separate meeting with Israel's defence minister Yoav Gallant--who is already in the US. Ahead of the meetings, Gallant said that Israel cannot stop its war on Hamas while there are still hostages in Gaza. 

"We will operate against Hamas everywhere - including in places where we have not yet been. We will identify an alternative to Hamas, so that the IDF may complete its mission...We have no moral right to stop the war while there are still hostages held in Gaza," Gallant said in a statement.

Since the start of the war after the October 7 Hamas attack, two resolutions were adopted by the UNSC on the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

A statement issued by the Arab Group on Friday appealed to all 15 council members to act with unity and urgency and vote for the resolution to halt the bloodshed. 

It is long past time for a ceasefire, the Arab Group said.

Because Ramzan ends next month, the cease-fire demand would last for just two weeks, though the draft says the pause in fighting should lead to a permanent sustainable cease-fire.

Over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed so far since the Israel-Hamas war. Gaza is reeling under a severe humanitarian crisis, with reports warning famine is imminent in northern Gaza. Around 2.3 million people are on the brink of starvation, according to reports.


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