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A U.S. Abstention Allows Ceasefire Resolution To Pass at UN Security Council

A view of Riyad Mansour (centre), Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, and delegates after the adoption of the ceasefire resolution. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

March 25, 2024 (EIRNS)—The UN Security Council passed a one-month “Ramadan” ceasefire today after the U.S. abstained, rather than veto the resolution, as it has all previous Gaza ceasefire resolutions. The 14-0-1 vote makes it a binding resolution, and it was met by applause in the chamber.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the move “a retreat from the consistent American position since the beginning of the war,” and said the U.S. abstention “harms the war effort as well as the effort to liberate the hostages.” He promptly canceled the scheduled meeting in Washington of his top advisers with Biden administration officials, for discussions on his planned Rafah invasion.

The U.S. asked for a change in the text that removed “permanent ceasefire” and replaced it with a “lasting ceasefire,” according to diplomats, and wanted language calling for both sides to create conditions where the halt in fighting could be sustained, according to the New York Times report.

The resolution also calls for the “immediate and unconditional” release of over 100 hostages held in Gaza, but it did not make the ceasefire contingent on that release, as Israel has demanded all along. The approved resolution also calls for ensuring humanitarian access for vital food and medical needs, and demands that the parties “comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain.” A subsequent press release issued by the State Department attempted to clarify that the resolution “reaffirms the U.S. position that a ceasefire of any duration comes as part of an agreement to release hostages in Gaza.”

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