UN Security Council demands immediate Gaza ceasefire after US abstains By Reuters

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© Reuters. Members of the United Nations Security Council stand in silence, in honor of the victims of the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow, on the day of the vote on the Gaza resolution that calls for a ceasefire for the month of Ramadan that it brings.

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By Michelle Nichols and Nidal al-Mughrabi

UNITED NATIONS/CAIRO (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution on Monday seeking to end the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas after the United States abstained, sparking a row with its ally Israel.

The council’s remaining 14 members voted in favor of the resolution – which was passed by the council’s 10 elected members – which also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees. There was an uproar in the council chamber after the vote.

“This proposal must be implemented. Failure is unforgivable,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US failure to veto the decision was a “departure” from its previous policy and would hurt Israel’s fight to free more than 130 people held hostage by Hamas.

“Our vote does not, and I repeat, does not represent a change in our policy,” White House spokesman John Kirby (NYSE: ) told reporters. “Nothing has changed in our plan. Nothing.”

Following the UN vote, Netanyahu canceled a trip to Washington with a high-level delegation that was supposed to discuss the planned Israeli military operation in southern Gaza in Rafah, where about 1.5 million Palestinians have sought shelter.

The United States was puzzled by Israel’s decision and found it difficult, said one US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Washington had previously been hostile to the ceasefire during the nearly six-month-old war in the Gaza Strip and used its veto power to protect Israel’s military when it retaliated against Hamas in an Oct. 7 which Israel says killed 1,200 people.

But as famine looms in Gaza and amid international pressure to end a war that Palestinian health officials say has killed nearly 32,000 people, the US refused on Monday to allow the Security Council to call for a ceasefire during the Islamic month of Ramadan. , which expires after two weeks.

“It is the killing of Hamas that started this war,” UN Ambassador to Israel Gilad Erdan said. “The opinion that has just been voted on seems to be that the war started on its own… Israel did not start this war, and Israel did not want this war.”

Hamas welcomed the decision of the Security Council, saying that it “confirms the readiness to take immediate action against the prisoners on both sides.”

Lebanon’s acting minister, Najib Mikati, said the world must force Israel to stop attacking Lebanon. Israeli forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia have been trading fire across Lebanon’s southern border. Hezbollah did not respond to the UN vote.

FAMINE IS NEAR

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US fully supported “some of the key elements of this non-binding resolution,” but added that Washington did not agree to anything contained in the text, which also did not oppose Hamas.

“We believe that it was important for the council to speak up and ensure that any end should come with the release of all those who were held hostage,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council. “The cessation of hostilities can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage, so we must force Hamas to do that.”

China’s ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said the Security Council’s decisions are appropriate.

“For the millions of people in Gaza, who are still facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, this decision – if implemented in full – could bring hope that has been expected for a long time,” he told the organization.

The deputy spokesman of the UN, Farhan Haq, said that the resolutions of the Security Council are international laws, “so they are as permanent as the international laws are.”

However, in the end, if there is no end to the war in Gaza, it is unlikely that the Security Council will act.

The resolution “re-emphasizes the urgent need to expand humanitarian aid and strengthen the security of civilians throughout the Gaza Strip and reiterates the need to remove all obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid on a large scale.”

Guterres urged Israel on Monday to remove all obstacles to aid in Gaza and allow UNRWA refugee teams to go to the north of the Gaza Strip.

Famine is imminent and is expected to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread to the rest of the region by July, according to a report sponsored by the UN and the World Food Security Agency released last week.

Palestinian refugees in Rafah are hoping for a ceasefire.

“We hope that this time there will be calm so things will calm down and people will return to their homes – enough bloodshed, destruction, martyrdom, and death,” Wafaa Al-Deais told Reuters as she made tea over a fire. outside the tent.

The US has voted against three council resolutions on the war in Gaza. It has previously refused twice, allowing the council to pass resolutions aimed at boosting aid to Gaza and calling for a freeze in the fighting.

Russia and China have also objected to two US resolutions on the conflict – in October and on Friday.

“This should be a turning point,” Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told the Security Council after Monday’s vote. “This should lead to saving lives on the ground.”

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