For First Time: US Allows Security Council To Adopt Resolution For 'Immediate' Gaza Ceasefire

The US abstained from voting on the resolution, which called for halting hostilities in Ramadan, demanded the release of all hostages

For First Time: US Allows Security Council To Adopt Resolution For 'Immediate' Gaza Ceasefire

For the first time in five months, a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza sailed through the United Nations Security Council on Monday.

The resolution was voted 14-0, with the United States abstaining from voting. In what was the fifth resolution on the subject in as many months, this was only the second resolution where the US did not use its powers for veto. The only other occasion was last week when vetoes from permanent members Russia and China defeated a resolution Washington had sponsored.

The resolution, sponsored by Algeria — the only Arab nation currently on the Security Council — "demands an immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

It further calls for a truce that leads to a "lasting, sustainable ceasefire". It also demands that Hamas and other militant groups operating in Gaza, free the hostages seized in their October 7 attack, which triggered the massive Israeli military campaign that has rendered over 70% of residential structures in Gaza uninhabitable and put almost all medical facilities out of commission.

"The bloodbath has continued for far too long," said Amar Bendjama, Algeria's permanent representative to the United Nations. Countries such as Slovenia, Switzerland, Japan, and South Korea co-sponsored the resolution.

The resolution is the most resounding global verdict on Israel's actions, which has left close to 35,000 Palestinians dead (mostly children) in Gaza and the West Bank — the latter which had nothing to do with October 7 attacks but is a territory which faced intensified Israeli aggression in 2023, even with over 700 Palestinians killed before the October 7 attacks.

In a post on the social media site 'X' (formerly Twitter), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded that the resolution be implemented immediately. 

"Failure would be unforgivable," warned Guterres, whose global organisation is also among the victims of Israel's indiscriminate and expansive campaign of violence across all Palestinian territories after October 7, with dozens of UN staff killed and aid centres destroyed.

Palestine's envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, hoped the resolution would prove to be a "turning point" in ending the war.

"Apologies to those who the world has failed, to those that could have been saved but were not," he said.

Hamas indicated it would positively engage in talks on the prisoner exchange brokered by Qatar. Past attempts to broker a deal via Qatar failed after Israel refused a detailed and stage-wise peace plan proposed by Hamas to release thousands of Palestinians, including children, who were kidnapped by Israeli militants and held at jails inside Israel.

Could Israel turn on the US?

With Israel repeatedly humiliating US President Joe Biden over his calls for caution and temperance in the violent campaign in Gaza and for ensuring the provision of aid, reacted as expected to Monday's vote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tel Aviv will no longer send a delegation to the United States to discuss its stated plans to attack Rafah. A signal of his intent to defy warnings from Biden and push ahead with plans to attack the last refuge left for Palestinians in Gaza.

In a statement, Netanyahu said the statement "gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a ceasefire without the release of our abductees."

Netanyahu's War Minister Yoav Gallant, who was in Washington on a separate trip to the White House, asserted that Tel Aviv will continue the war until hostages are freed. 

"We have no moral right to stop the war while there are still hostages held in Gaza," he said outside the White House.

Last week, Netanyahu humiliated US Secretary of State Antony Blinken when, upon his arrival in Tel Aviv to discuss Israel's impending offensive into Rafah, announced the largest seizure of land in the West Bank. The US had weeks earlier imposed sanctions on Israeli settlers expanding into the West Bank. The act of Israeli settlers stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank, experts say, violates international law.

Even as Blinken tried desperately to dissuade Netanyahu from making a push into Rafah, Israeli forces struck parts of Rafah and unleashed horrific violence, unarmed women and children taking refuge in the remains of the obliterated Al Shifa hospital

'Release hostage for ceasefire'

US Envoy to United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who had denounced the opposition of Russia and China over its "ambiguous" ceasefire resolution last week and had warned that past demands for putting pressure on Israel for a ceasefire could jeopardise talks, said that Hamas must now free hostages.

"A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage," Thomas-Greenfield said. "This is the only path to securing a ceasefire."

She called on all members of the UN to "demand unequivocally" that Hamas take the deal and release hostages.