UN Security Council Demands Gaza Cease-Fire

The U.N. Security Council broke months of deadlock Monday and adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate” cease-fire in Gaza.

“This must be a turning point. This must lead to saving lives on the ground,” an emotional Palestinian U.N. envoy, Riyad Mansour, told the council. “This must signal the end of this assault of atrocities against our people.”

The resolution “demands” an immediate cease-fire for the month of Ramadan, which is half over, “leading to a lasting sustainable cease-fire.” It also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, the lifting of all barriers to the provision of more humanitarian aid, and the protection of civilians in Gaza.

The text, put forward by the 10 elected members of the 15-nation council, was adopted in a vote of 14 in favor with the United States abstaining, allowing the measure to pass. This was the eighth time the council attempted to agree on a cease-fire resolution, and it was greeted with applause in the packed council chamber.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Washington abstained because, while some of their proposals were taken into account, the text did not include a condemnation of Hamas — a major U.S. demand throughout months of negotiations on previous failed cease-fire resolution attempts.

“However, as I said before, we fully support some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution. And we believe it was important for the Council to speak out and make clear that any cease-fire must come with the release of all hostages,” she said.

U.N. Security Council resolutions are international law, so it was not immediately clear why she believes it is not binding. Other council members reiterated that council decisions are binding and mandatory.

In Washington, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that “nothing, nothing has changed about our policy. Nothing.”

Israel’s envoy said the resolution is “shameful” because it does not condition the cease-fire on the release of hostages held by Hamas.

“It should be very clear that as long as Hamas refuses to release the hostages in the diplomatic channels, there is no other way to secure their return than through a military operation,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. representative, said.

The 10 elected council members said in a joint statement to reporters after the vote that they hope it will be implemented by all parties and will help ease the suffering of the population in Gaza. (Source: VOA)

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