Gaza: Security Council votes for “immediate ceasefire” for first time: News

After months of “deafening silence”, the UN Security Council finally called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza on Monday, a call that the US has repeatedly blocked, this time drawing the ire of its Israeli ally.

The resolution, adopted to applause by 14 votes in favor, with one vote, “demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan” – which already began two weeks ago – which “will lead to a lasting ceasefire” and “demands” the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages”.

“Finally, the Security Council is accepting its responsibilities to stop this bloodshed,” welcomed Algerian ambassador Amar Bendjama.

This “historic day” should be “a turning point (…), a signal for the end of this atrocity against our people,” Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said in a strained voice.

Many members of the Council, UN People like the spokesman insist the text is law, but Americans insist it's “not binding.”

In any case, Council resolutions are often ignored by the countries concerned.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has already vowed that Israel will not stop its war “as long as there are no hostages in Gaza”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ruled that the failure to implement the resolution was inexcusable.

The resolution “recognizes” the existence of talks led by Qatar, Egypt and the United States in exchange for hostages taken during the bloody and unprecedented Hamas offensive on Israeli soil on October 7.

But US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield pressed Hamas to insist on a link between the ceasefire and the release of the hostages.

– “No change in course” –

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“A ceasefire can begin immediately after the release of a first hostage (…) This is the only way to ensure a ceasefire and the release of hostages,” he said.

Israel canceled a delegation visit to Washington while the White House assured that the US referendum was not “definitely a change”.

On Friday, Russia and China vetoed a draft US resolution stressing the “need” of an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.

Some observers see this as a significant evolution in Washington's position under pressure to limit support for Israel, which has killed more than 32,000 people in Israeli strikes, according to the Hamas health ministry.

The United States had until then categorically opposed the term “ceasefire”, blocking three draft resolutions to this effect. But the rejected US text did not explicitly call for an immediate ceasefire.

– And after Ramadan? –

Monday's resolution was the result of work by the council's non-permanent members, who spent all weekend negotiating with the United States to avoid another defeat.

The resolution calls for the “removal of all obstacles” to humanitarian aid.

The Council, which has been deeply divided over the Israeli-Palestinian issue for years, has been able to adopt only two resolutions on the issue since October 7 (out of eight resolutions put to the vote), which are essentially humanitarian. Without much end: Aid pouring into besieged Gaza is insufficient and famine is looming.

The new resolution condemns “all acts of terrorism” but does not mention the October 7 attacks by Hamas that killed at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli data.

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The Council and the General Assembly never condemned the October 7 Hamas attacks, which were duly blamed by Israel.

While Monday's resolution focused on Ramadan, several countries stressed the need for a long-term vision that would make it possible to permanently silence guns.

French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere urged the council to “work to restore and stabilize Gaza” and “put back on track a political process aimed at establishing a two-state solution”. Silence”.

Published on March 25 at 7:42 pm, AFP

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