U.N. Security Council passes ceasefire resolution, U.S. abstains

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The United States abstained from the vote, marking the first time the country has not vetoed such a measure. The other 14 council members voted in favor of the resolution.

Last week, Russia and China vetoed a U.S. proposal that called for a ceasefire but linked the move to the release of all Israeli hostages. The new resolution calls for the release of the hostages but does not connect the issues directly.

“We appreciated the willingness of members of this Council to take some of our edits and improve upon this resolution,” said United States Ambassador to the United Nations Still, certain key edits were ignored, including our request to add a condemnation of Hamas. And we did not agree with everything in this resolution. For that reason, we were unfortunately not able to vote yes.

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

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby claimed that the abstention “does not represent a shift” in U.S. policy. However, the U.S. has vetoed three ceasefire resolutions since the Hamas attack of October 7 and blocked an amendment calling for a ceasefire that Russia tacked onto a resolution last December.

The move comes amid deepening tensions between the Biden administration and Israel’s government.

Shortly before the vote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would cancel a planned meeting in Washington to discuss the Rafah invasion if the U.S. failed to veto the effort.

“This retreat hurts the war effort as well as the effort to free the hostages because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without freeing our hostages,” confirmed the Prime Minister’s office after the resolution passed. “In light of the change in the American stance, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided the delegation will not depart.”

Netanyahu’s office also claimed that there was a plan to introduce two separate resolutions at the Security Council today, one calling for a ceasefire and one calling for a release of hostages.

However, Senior Israeli and American officials told Axios‘ Barak Ravid that there was no intention to introduce two separate resolutions and that the claim is “a complete fake on Netanyahu’s part indicating that he is trying to cause an explosion.”

The Biden administration’s decision was immediately criticized by pro-Israel organizations.

“We are disappointed that the Administration failed to veto a resolution adopted today by the UN Security Council that fails to acknowledge that Hamas is to blame for ongoing hostilities and could stop the fighting by surrendering and releasing all the hostages,” tweeted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). “Moreover, any pause or temporary ceasefire must be directly contingent upon the release of the hostages. Peace is only possible when Hamas is either defeated or surrenders and releases all the hostages.”

It’s unclear whether the resolution will actually have an impact on U.S. policy or if the measure will be enforced. The Biden administration has publicly floated the idea of potentially conditioning military aid to Israel, but they’ve yet to take concrete action on the issue. The United States government supplies Israel with over $3.8 billion in military every year, and President Biden is pushing Congress to approve another $14.5 billion.

“The Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable,” tweeted UN Secretary-General António Guterres.


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