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UN Security Council Votes for Gaza Ceasefire-US Abstains

UN Security Council votes for ceasefire in Gaza, US abstains
UN Security Council votes for ceasefire in Gaza, US abstains. Credit: UN Women Gallery. CC BY 2.0/flickr

For the first time, the UN Security Council has called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza. The US abstained rather than using its veto. This was in a move away from its previous position.

The resolution also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Ten elected members of the council wrote the resolution. Mozambique’s representative presented it for consideration in the chamber.

The Security Council has been unable to reach an agreement since the war began in October. It has failed to align on a ceasefire call. However, now, fourteen members of the council have voted for the resolution, while the US has abstained.

What the US abstaining from UN ceasefire vote means for its relationship with Israel

The move by the US is indicative of increasing divergence between the nation and its ally, Israel, over the Middle Eastern country’s offensive in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled plans for his top aides, Ron Dermer and Tzachi Hanegbi, to visit Washington, according to reports.

The Israeli prime minister’s office released a statement. It accused the US of harming Israel’s offensive efforts and attempts to free hostages. This is through the US decision not to use a veto to block the resolution, The Times of Israel reported.

This US decision marks a “clear retreat from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war.” It also “gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without releasing…hostages,” the statement reads.

In contrast, the US had previously blocked resolutions calling for a ceasefire. It had claimed this move would be wrong while delicate negotiations for a truce and hostage releases were ongoing between Israel and Hamas.

However, the US has grown increasingly critical of Israel over alleged escalating death tolls in Gaza. It is reported over 32,000 people—mostly women and children—have been killed by Israel’s offensive. This is according to the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The US has also urged Israel to offer more help in getting vital aid delivered to Gaza. It is reported the entire population is suffering from severe levels of food insecurity. The UN previously accused Israel of blocking aid. Yet Israel has blamed the UN for this. Israel argues the UN has failed to carry out distributions.

The war began on October 7th. This was after Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic terrorist group governing Gaza, carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel. It killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies, and took 253 hostages into Gaza.

Like the US, Russia and China had also previously vetoed texts. During this most recent vote, Russia attempted to amend the text by restoring it to an earlier draft that included the word “permanent.” Nevertheless, the bid failed.

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