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UN Security Council demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza

March 25, 2024 at 3:06 pm

The United Nations Security Council holds a meeting after the rulings of International Court of Justice on Israel, at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States on January 31, 2024 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Security Council today demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and unconditional release of all prisoners of war held in Gaza after the United States abstained from the vote, Reuters reported.

The remaining 14 council members voted for the resolution, which was proposed by the ten elected members of the body.

Washington had been averse to the word ceasefire earlier in the nearly six-month-old war in the Gaza Strip and had used its veto power to shield Israel as it carried out a brutal bombing campaign in Gaza, which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said could amount to genocide.

But amid growing global pressure for a truce in the war that has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, the US abstained from the vote to allow the Security Council to demand an immediate ceasefire for the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, towards a lasting truce.

It also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of war held in Gaza. No mention is made of the thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails, many held under administrative detention, without charge or trial.

The Security Council resolution also “emphasises the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip and reiterates its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.”

Israeli army radio reported shortly before the council meeting started that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would cancel a planned delegation to Washington if the US did not veto the resolution.

America has vetoed three draft council resolutions on the war in Gaza. It has also previously abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost aid to Gaza and called for extended pauses in fighting.

Read: UN official says women in Gaza desperately need a ceasefire