UN Security Council passes resolution demanding for immediate Gaza ceasefire

The US abstained on the resolution, which also demanded the release of all hostages taken captive during Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack in southern Israel

The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza during the month of Ramadan.

The United States abstained from the resolution, which also demanded the release of all hostages taken captive during Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack in southern Israel.

But the measure does not link that demand to the ceasefire during Ramadan, which ends April 9.

The vote comes after Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution on Friday that would have supported “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The US had warned the resolution on Monday morning 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 ten elected council members, was backed by Russia and China and the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations.

A statement issued on 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 said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrives in Egypt before his visit to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Credit: AP

Ramadan began March 10 and ends April 9, which means that the resolution will last for just two weeks, though the draft says the pause in fighting should lead “to a permanent sustainable cease-fire.”

The vote was originally scheduled for Saturday morning, but its sponsors asked late on Friday for a delay until Monday morning.

Many Security Council members are hoping the UN’s most powerful body, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, will demand an end to the war that began when Hamas launched a surprise attack into southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

Since then, the Security Council had adopted two resolutions on the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, but none called for a ceasefire.

There have been multiple calls for an immediate ceasefire by the UN which have been vetoed, most recently the US quashed a proposal due to the wording being too "ambiguous".

More than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during the fighting, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

Gaza also faces a dire humanitarian emergency, with a report from an international authority on hunger warning March 18 that “famine is imminent” in northern Gaza and that escalation of the war could push half of the territory’s 2.3 million people to the brink of starvation.

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