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Gaza: Security Council Passes Resolution Demanding ‘An Immediate Ceasefire’ During Ramadan

The UN Security Council on Monday passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan, the immediate and unconditional release of hostages and "the urgent need to expand the flow" of aid into Gaza. There were 14 votes in favour with the United States abstaining.

12:18 PM - The meeting is over but we'll post highlights soon and bring you further reaction and developments through the day.

12:15 PM

This is a first step: Yemen

The Representative of Yemen Abdullah Ali Fadhel Al-Saadi, on behalf of the Arab Group, said they valued the votes of the 14 States supporting the resolution. 

He said the resolution must be considered as a first step leading to a binding resolution on a permanent ceasefire. 

The Arab Group also reaffirms that the efforts to reach an agreement on a ceasefire do not go against the call for freeing all hostages.

He said the Group sought immediate compliance with the resolution and categorically rejects the double standard that is prolonging this conflict, as Israeli occupation forces continue with their genocidal war, targeting women and children and even adopting a policy of starvation.

He called on the Council to impose strict sanctions on Israeli settlers who are inciting violence against Palestinians, including in Jerusalem.

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The Arab group will continue efforts for an immediate ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid, an end to forced displacement of Palestinians and greater international protection for the Palestinians.

Israel must be held accountable for its crimes. It is also time that the international community accept the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations, he concluded. 

11:52 AM

Lack of Hamas condemnation is 'a disgrace': Israel

Gilad Erdan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel, questioned why the Security Council “discriminates” among victims, recalling that it condemned the deadly attack on a concert hall in Moscow on Friday, but failed to condemn the Nova music festival massacre of 7 October.

“Civilians, no matter where they live, deserve to enjoy music in safety and security and the Security Council should have the moral clarity to condemn such acts of terror equally, without discrimination,” he said.

“Sadly, today as well this Council refused to condemn the 7 October massacre – this is a disgrace,” he added.

Mr. Erdan further note that for the past 18 years, Hamas initiated ceaseless attacks against Israeli civilians.

“Thousands and thousands of indiscriminate rockets and missiles against civilians,” he stressed.

He added that while the resolution failed to condemn Hamas, it did “state something that should have been the driving moral force”.

“This resolution denounces the taking of hostages, recalling that it in violation of international law,” he said, stressing taking innocent civilians hostage, is a war crime.

“When it comes to bringing the hostages home, the Security Council must not settle for words alone but take action, real action,” he added.

11:45 AM

Gaza’s ordeal must end, now: Palestine

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the observer State of Palestine, said it had taken six months, with more than 100,000 Palestinians killed and maimed, to finally demand an immediate ceasefire.

The Palestinians in Gaza have shouted, cried, cursed and prayed, defying the odds time and time again. Now they live with famine with many buried under the rubble of their own houses.

“Their ordeal must come to an end, and it must come to an immediate end, now”, he told ambassadors.

 He said the rule of international law was being destroyed by Israel’s crimes. Instead of implementing a mandatory order from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Israel has doubled down on its actions, he said.

He said Palestinians had been killed if they stayed, or left, and now Israel threatens an invasion of Rafah.

They have also continued their incitement of the UN, attacking the UN chief and the UN relief agency UNRWA. The UN must be defended, he said.

“This outrageous incitement has real life consequences for UN and humanitarian staff on the ground who are targets of attacks, who are killed, arrested and tortured”, he said. 

It also has real life consequences for the blocking of UNRWA aid. “It is time for all these Israeli actions to trigger a serious international action”, he said.

He welcomed the adoption of the resolution and saluted Arab unity in demanding the ceasefire.

“This must be a turning point, this must lead to saving lives on the ground. This must signal the end of this assault of atrocities against our people”, said, declaring that his entire nation was “being murdered”.

11:30 AM

Russia: Council must work towards permanent ceasefire

Mr. Nebenzia, Russian Ambassador and Permanent Representative, said that his country voted in favour of the resolution, as it called for an immediate ceasefire “even if it is limited to the month of Ramadan”.

“Unfortunately, what happens after that ends remains unclear, since the word ‘lasting’ could be interpreted in various different ways,” he said.

“Those who are providing cover for Israel still want to give it a free hand,” he added, expressing hope that the wording contained in the resolution “will be used in the interests of peace rather than advancing the inhumane Israeli operation against the Palestinians”.

The word “permanent” would be more precise, the ambassador said, voicing his delegation’s “disappointment” that his delegation's proposal did not make it through.

“Nevertheless, we believe it is fundamentally important to vote in favour of peace,” he said, urging the Security Council to continue to work on achieving a permanent ceasefire.

11:28 AM

Humanitarian pause key, then sustainable peace: UK

United Kingdom Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country had long been calling for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life as the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in.

That is what this resolution calls for and why the UK voted in favour of the text. "We regret that this resolution has not condemned the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October," she said, but it sets out the urgent demand for the unconditional release of all hostages.

Now, the Council must focus on an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a lasting, sustainable peace without a return to fighting. 

That means the formation of a new Palestinian Government for the West Bank and Gaza accompanied by an international support package, Ambassador Woodward said, as well as ending Hamas's ability to launch attacks.

There must be a pathway towards a two-State solution with Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in security and peace.   

11:17 AM

Life and death vote: Guyana

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Guyana, said that after more than five months of a “war of utter terror and destruction”, a ceasefire is the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and others.

“This demand [by the Council] comes at a significant time as Palestinians are observing the holy month of Ramadan,” she said, noting continuing deaths in the enclave and a growing number of families left homeless.

Voicing concern over the looming starvation in Gaza, the ambassador also highlighted the disproportionate impact of the war on women and children.

“At the same time, the anguish of the families of the hostages held in Gaza continues to mount with no clear prospect for the return of their loved ones,” she said, adding that “Palestinians experience the same anguish, waiting for their relatives who are illegally detained in Israel to come home.”

11:14 AM

Too late for some: China

Zhang Jun, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China to the UN, thanked the E-10 members for their efforts on the draft.

Noting that his country’s negative vote on the US-led draft resolution last Friday, he stated that a comparison of the two drafts showed the differences.

“The current draft is unequivocal and correct in its direction, demanding an immediate ceasefire, while the previous one was evasive and ambiguous,” he said, adding that the present resolution also reflected the general expectations of the international community and enjoyed the collective support of Arab nations.

He said China had forced the US to realise it could not continue obstructing the Council.

“For the lives that have already perished, the Council resolution today comes too late,” he said, but for those still living in the Strip, the resolution represents “long awaited hope”.

“All harm to civilians must cease immediately” and the offensive must end, he said. 

11:01 AM

After 'deafening silence', Council must focus on solutions: France

French Ambassador and Permanent Representative Nicholas de Rivière  welcomed the adoption of the resolution, stressing that “it was high time” that the Security Council act. 

“The adoption of this resolution demonstrates that the Security Council can still act when all of its members make the necessary effort to discharge their mandate,” he said.

“The Security Council’s silence on Gaza was becoming deafening, it is high time now for the Council to finally contribute to finding a solution to this crisis,” he continued, noting that it is not yet over and that the 15-member body will have to remain mobilised and immediately get to work.

“It will have to, following Ramadan, which finishes in two weeks, [the Council] will have to establish a permanent ceasefire,” the ambassador added, stressing also the importance of the two-State solution.

10:55 AM

Resolution must make a difference: Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea’s Ambassador Hwang Joonkook, said it was the first ever resolution from the E-10 to be adopted on this Middle East agenda and represents a huge breakthrough.

But for today’s resolution to have concrete significance, it must have a tangible impact in Gaza itself, he said.

“The situation must be different before and after this resolution. This will only be possible when both Israel and Hamas respect and faithfully implement this resolution.”

They must understand this resolution reflects the consensus of the international community, starting right now with a ceasefire.

10:46 AM

Supporting crucial talks: US

US Ambassador and Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that in adopting the resolution, the Security Council “spoke out in support” of the ongoing diplomatic efforts led by the US, Qatar and Egypt to bring about an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, secure the immediate release of all hostages, and help alleviate the tremendous suffering of Palestinian civilians in need in Gaza.

“The United States fully supports these critical objectives,” she said.

“In fact, they were the foundation of the resolution we put forward last week – a resolution that Russia and China vetoed.”

Emphasizing that her country’s support for the objectives “is not simply rhetorical,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said that the US “is working around the clock to make them real on the ground, through diplomacy.”

She urged Council members to be clear that a ceasefire could have come “months ago” had Hamas been ready to release the hostages, accusing the group of throwing roadblocks in the path of peace.

“So today my ask to the members of this Council…is ‘speak out and demand unequivocally that Hamas accepts the deal on the  table’,” she said.

10:47 AM

Resolution must be implemented: UN chief

Reacting immediately after the vote, Secretary-General António Guterres said on X that the long-awaited resolution must be implemented; the Council’s failure to so “would be unforgivable.”

10:40 AM

Algeria says draft will end the ‘bloodbath’ in Gaza

Algeria’s Ambassador Amar Benjama said the draft will put an end to the massacres that have been going on for five months.

“The bloodbath has gone far too long,” he said. “Finally, the Security Council is finally responding to the calls of the international community and the Secretary-General.”

The draft conveys a clear message to the Palestinian people, he said.

“The international community, in its entirety, did not abandon you,” he said. “Adopting today’s resolution is on the beginning to meet the aspiration of the Palestinian people…to put an end of the bloodbath without any conditions.”

0:39 AM

Draft resolution passes, US abstains

The Russian verbal amendment did not pass due to lack of votes.

But in the substantive vote, there were 14 in favour, with the US abstaining. The resolution therefore has passed.

10:36 AM

The sticking point is the removal of the word "permanent" from an earlier version of the draft. It now calls for an "immediate ceasefire".

Russia proposes amendment

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the fact that word “permanent” in operative paragraph one was replaced with weaker language is “unacceptable”.

“We all received instructions for a vote on the text that contained the word ‘permanent’” and anything else could be seen as permission for Israel to continue its attacks, he said.

As such, his delegation proposed an oral amendment to return the word “permanent” to the draft.

10:27 AM

Israel and Yemen will be taking part in the meeting together with the Observer State of Palestine.

Those who wish to make a statement before the vote are speaking.

Mozambique's Ambassador Pero Afonso is introducing the draft on behalf of the 10 elected members (E-10) of the Council.

He said it was essential to end the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip, which is a matter of "grave concern to the entire international community" and a clear threat to peace and security. 

There is a mandate under the UN Charter to work towards these key aims and this is the main motivation for introducing this text.

He said the E-10 group have always supported the call for an immediate ceasefire as a "fundamental" starting point. But the draft resolution also demands the immediate release of all hostages and full humanitarian access to them.

"Given the utmost urgency of the situation" we call on all members to vote in favour of the resolution and work towards a comprehensive ceasefire and a lasting peace in the Middle East, he said. 

10:25 AM

The meeting has finally got underway. Ambassador Yamazaki has led a minute's silence in honour of those who died in the terrorist attack in Moscow on Friday.

10:13 AM

These are unusual scenes going on now in the Chamber. The Russian Ambassador is in a large huddle with many other top diplomats, including the Palestinian Observer and the Ambassador for Malta. There are clearly negotiations still going on over the draft that's due to be voted on.

Only a few of the ambassadors are already at the table. It looks like we won't see the gavel come down for a while yet.

10:07 AM

Japan holds the presidency of the Security Council for March. Ambassador Kazuyuki Yamazaki will get the meeting underway soon but delegations are still filing into the Council Chamber, some huddled together in animated discussion. 

09:30 AM - Disagreement in the Council has seen several rounds of drafts quashed by one or more of its five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) since the war began in October following the Hamas-led terror attacks on southern Israel.

The current draft that ambassadors will consider around the iconic horseshoe table in the Security Council Chamber this morning is only four operative paragraphs long and was prepared by its non-permanent members.

Three main demands: Ceasefire, return hostages, let aid into Gaza

The resolution is a bare-bones call for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, which began on 11 March. It also demands the return of about 130 hostages seized in Israel and held in Gaza and emphasizes the urgent need to allow ample lifesaving aid to reach a starving population in the besieged enclave.

The demand to end hostilities has so far eluded the Council following the Israeli forces’ invasion of Gaza in October after Hamas attacks left almost 1,200 dead and 240 taken hostage.

Since then, Israel’s daily bombardment alongside its near total blockade of water, electricity and lifesaving aid has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza,  according to the health ministry there, where a recent UN-backed report showed an imminent famine unfolding.

Growing calls to end the war

While a week-long ceasefire in November saw an exchange of hostages held in Gaza for Palestinians detained in Israel, fighting resumed and has only escalated, as the death toll and malnutrition in Gaza continues to soar along with ever louder calls to end the war and rapidly address the stark humanitarian suffering.

Previous rejected drafts contained basically the same provisions as this new one, as did resolutions 2712 and 2720 that were adopted in late 2023, but points of contention persist among the membership while calls continue to demand that the 15-member Council take a stronger stand to end the conflict.

Read our explainer on what happens when the Security Council deadlocks here, and follow our coverage as the meeting unfolds.

What’s the new draft resolution calling for?

  • The Council would demand “an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire
  • It would also demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs” and “that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain”
  • Other provisions would have the Council emphasize “the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip.
  • In this regard, the draft would have the Council reiterate its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law as well as resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023).

Here are HIGHLIGHTS from the Council’s meeting on Friday:

  • A US-proposed draft to end the war in Gaza was vetoed by permanent Council members China and Russia, in a vote of 11 favour to three against (Algeria, China, Russia) and one abstention (Guyana)
  • Several ambassadors voiced their support for a new draft proposed by the “E-10” group of non-permanent Council members, which calls for an immediate ceasefire
  • The vetoed draft would have made imperative an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza, with an “urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance” to all civilians and lifting “all barriers” to delivering aid
  • Council members disagreed over elements of the draft, and some highlighted glaring exclusions despite having raised multiple concerns with the US during negotiations
  • Ambassadors largely supported swift action to bring food and lifesaving aid at scale into Gaza, where concerns of famine grew as Israel continues to block and slow walk shipments into the besieged enclave
  • Some Council members called for pursuing the two-State solution to the ongoing conflict
  • Israel’s ambassador was invited to speak, calling the draft’s failure to pass and condemn Hamas “a stain that will never be forgotten”

More to come…

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