Ramadan Mubarak! UN Security Council's Immediate for Gaza Ceasefire, Ends Months of Stalemate

Ramadan Mubarak! UN Security Council's Immediate for Gaza Ceasefire, Ends Months of Stalemate

On Monday, the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn Gaza Strip during Ramadan, while demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. This is the first explicit call by the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire since the start of Israel's military offensive in Gaza on October 7.

Resolution 2728 (2024), proposed by 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, was adopted by 14 members with one abstention (the United States). The resolution "demands" an immediate ceasefire for the remainder of Ramadan that is respected by all parties and leads to a durable and sustainable ceasefire.

It also urges the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and calls for ensuring humanitarian access to meet medical and other humanitarian needs.

The Council also underlined the need for all parties to comply with their obligations under applicable international law concerning all detained persons.

Monday's UN vote comes amid rising tensions over Israel's ominous military operation in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

The U.S. has repeatedly blocked proposed Security Council resolutions that would put pressure on Israel. In her statement after the vote, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield blamed Hamas for the delay in passing the cease-fire resolution. The White House said the final resolution did not include language the U.S. considered important, and its abstention did not indicate a significant policy change.

The US abstention on the resolution was due to disappointment with its ally as civilian casualties continued to rise and the UN warned of imminent famine in Gaza. The US had sought clarification from Israel on the steps it would take to protect the 1.4 million Palestinians seeking refuge there from a predicted attack, which the US said would be a grave mistake.

The resolution was welcomed by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. But Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, criticized the Security Council for passing a measure calling for a cease-fire without linking it to the release of the hostages.

Meanwhile, the U.S. decision not to vote prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a planned visit to the U.S. by two of his top advisers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office called the U.S. decision not to vote against the resolution a "clear step backward" from its previous stance that would negatively impact the war effort against Hamas and efforts to free Israeli prisoners held in Gaza. His office also stressed that Netanyahu would not send a high-level delegation to Washington, DC, in light of the change in the US position.

The Fight Isn't Over

In response to the vote on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in X that the long-awaited resolution should be implemented. According to him, the Security Council's failure to do so is "inexcusable".

The Security Council also reiterated its demand that all parties abide by their responsibilities under international law and condemned all forms of attacks on civilians and civilian facilities, violence, and acts of terrorism against civilians. The resolution also reminded that the practice of hostage-taking is a violation of international law.

In its resolution, the Council underscored the importance of immediately increasing the distribution of humanitarian aid and protecting civilians along the Gaza Strip and reiterated its request to remove all obstacles to the delivery of large amounts of humanitarian aid.

The UN Ambassador to the Palestinian Territories, Riyad Mansour, stated that the decision was seen as a vote "to preserve life." He added that it had been six months since the UN Security Council had called for an immediate ceasefire, with more than 100,000 people killed or maimed, two million displaced, and a worsening famine situation, so he emphasized the importance of the council to demand an immediate ceasefire.

Meanwhile, France made a call for increased efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere stated that the crisis is still not over and the Council must remain active and return to work immediately. He added that after Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, the Council should create a permanent ceasefire.

Russia, through its Ambassador Vasily Alekseyevich Nebenzya, hopes that the resolution adopted on Monday can be used to advance peace and not to support Israel's inhumane operations against Palestinians. he also regretted that the situation that will follow is still unclear.

Russia is trying to argue for the use of the term "permanent" in relation to the ceasefire. This is because the omission of the word "permanent" could allow Israel "to resume military operations in the Gaza Strip at any time" after Ramadan ends on April 9.

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