UN Demands Gaza Ceasefire

Security Council resolution wants an end to violence for the rest of Ramadan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2024 11:09 AM CDT
UN Demands Ceasefire in Gaza During Ramadan
Parachutes drop supplies into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Sunday, March 24, 2024.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The United Nations Security Council on Monday demanded a ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, its first demand to halt fighting. The United States abstained on the resolution, reports the AP, which also demanded the release of all hostages taken captive during Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack in southern Israel. But the measure doesn't link that demand to the ceasefire during Ramadan, which ends April 9. The vote comes after Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution Friday that demanded "an immediate and sustained ceasefire" in the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

The United States warned that the resolution approved on Monday could hurt negotiations to halt hostilities by the US, Egypt, and Qatar, raising the possibility of another veto, this time by the Americans. The resolution, put forward by the 10 elected council members, is backed by Russia and China and the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations. A statement issued Friday night by the Arab Group appealed to all 15 council members "to act with unity and urgency" and vote for the resolution "to halt the bloodshed, preserve human lives, and avert further human suffering and destruction." "It is long past time for a ceasefire," the Arab Group added. Because Ramadan ends next month, the ceasefire demand would last for just two weeks, though the draft says the pause in fighting should lead "to a permanent sustainable ceasefire."

Since the start of the war, the Security Council has adopted two resolutions on the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, but none has called for a ceasefire. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council Friday that the resolution's text "fails to support sensitive diplomacy in the region. Worse, it could actually give Hamas an excuse to walk away from the deal on the table." "We should not move forward with any resolution that jeopardizes the ongoing negotiations," she said, warning that if the diplomacy isn't supported, "we may once again find this council deadlocked." (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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