UN Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza: US Abstains, Israel Reacts

 After five months of intense conflict in Gaza, the United Nations Security Council has finally passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire. The United States, a long-standing ally of Israel, abstained from vetoing the resolution, marking a significant shift in its diplomatic stance.

The resolution’s passage came as a surprise to Israel, which has consistently relied on US diplomatic support. Israeli officials have expressed their disapproval of the resolution and declared their intention to continue their operations.

The resolution was passed amidst ongoing violence in Gaza, where over 32,000 people have lost their lives since the conflict began. The situation escalated when Hamas-led militants launched an attack on Israel, resulting in the death of 1,200 people and the abduction of 250 hostages.

Israel has criticized the resolution for not explicitly linking the ceasefire to the release of the hostages in Gaza. The resolution calls for an “immediate ceasefire” and the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.” A previous resolution proposed by the US, which was not passed, had made a direct connection between the ceasefire and the release of the hostages.

While the US maintains that the resolution is non-binding, experts have differing opinions. The interpretation hinges on the specific language used in the document.

israel gaza war

Despite the resolution, Israel has continued its attacks on Gaza. Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, criticized the Security Council for calling for a ceasefire without making it conditional on the release of the hostages. Foreign Minister Israel Katz echoed this sentiment, stating that Israel would not comply with the resolution.

In response to the US’s abstention, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled trip to the US by two of his top advisers. The advisers were set to discuss alternatives to a planned Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah with US President Joe Biden.

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN and emeritus professor at the Hebrew University’s faculty of law, Gabriela Shalev, commented on the situation, stating that while the resolution may not have an immediate effect on the ground, it carries moral weight.

As the situation continues to unfold, the question remains: Is the resolution binding on Israel? US officials, including State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, and US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, have all insisted that the resolution is non-binding. However, the final interpretation may be left to international lawyers.

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