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UN Security Council for first time demands ‘immediate’ Gaza ceasefire, US abstains

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NEW DELHI: In its first demand to halt fighting, the United Nations Security Council on Monday demanded for a cease-fire in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The resolution also includes a demand for the release of all hostages taken captive during Hamas’ surprise attack in southern Israel on October 7.
“The Palestinian people has suffered greatly.This bloodbath has continued for far too long. It is our obligation to put an end to this bloodbath, before it is too late,” Algeria’s UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama told the council after the vote.
However, the United States chose to abstain from voting on the resolution. This resolution, backed by Russia and China along with the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations, does not directly link the release of hostages to the cease-fire during Ramadan, which concludes on April 9.
This decision follows a recent veto by Russia and China on a US-sponsored resolution that aimed to support “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Expressing concerns, the US cautioned that the approved resolution could potentially hinder the negotiations spearheaded by the US, Egypt, and Qatar to halt hostilities, hinting at the possibility of another veto, this time by the Americans.
The resolution, proposed by the 10 elected council members, underscores the urgent need to halt the bloodshed and preserve human lives. The Arab Group, in a statement issued Friday night, appealed to all council members to act with unity and urgency to vote for the resolution, emphasizing the imperative of a cease-fire.
Given that Ramadan ends next month, the cease-fire demand is set to last for just two weeks, although the draft aims for a pathway towards a permanent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with the Gaza health ministry reporting over 32,000 Palestinians killed since the conflict began. Additionally, there is a looming humanitarian crisis, with a report warning of imminent famine in northern Gaza, threatening nearly half of the territory’s population with starvation.
The United States, historically, has vetoed several resolutions demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, including the most recent one in February. Russia and China have also vetoed US-sponsored resolutions, citing ambiguity and a lack of direct demand to end the conflict.
Tensions were palpable during the voting process, reflecting broader geopolitical disputes. Criticism has been directed at the United States for its perceived leniency towards Israel, while tensions between the two nations continue to escalate.
Russia and China, post-veto, faced accusations of prioritizing political agendas over progress. The resolution’s passage, despite U.S. abstention, signals a shift in American stance, aligning more closely with global calls for an unconditional end to the conflict, albeit with certain issues still intertwined.
The resolution’s wording, while open to interpretation, reflects ongoing efforts to navigate the complexities of the Israeli-Hamas conflict and the broader geopolitical landscape within the Security Council.
(With inputs from agencies)





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