UN passes binding ceasefire resolution as Israel intensifies Gaza bombings

Despite the UN Security Council's call for a ceasefire, Israel continues its deadly assault on Gaza, raising questions about the implementation and enforcement of international resolutions.

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Image Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The United Nations Security Council passed a binding resolution on Monday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but Israel continued its military operations against Palestinians, resulting in further casualties and destruction. The U.S.-sponsored resolution, which calls for an end to hostilities and the initiation of a multi-phase peace plan, was passed with 14 votes in favor and one abstention from Russia.

The conflict between Israel and Gaza has a long and complicated history, marked by repeated cycles of violence and failed peace efforts. Previous UN resolutions have often struggled to bring lasting peace to the region, with both sides accusing each other of violating ceasefire agreements. The current conflict, which began with an attack by Hamas on October 7, has seen unprecedented levels of violence and destruction.

The resolution calls for an “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire” as its first phase, involving the exchange of some Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and Israeli hostages held by Hamas, particularly women, the elderly, and the wounded. The second phase requires a permanent ceasefire, the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and the release of all remaining Israeli hostages. The third and final phase involves a “major multi-year reconstruction plan” for Gaza, aimed at rebuilding the extensive infrastructure damage caused by the conflict.

Hamas has expressed its acceptance of the resolution, with senior official Sami Abu Zuhri indicating a willingness to negotiate details such as the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released. Zuhri emphasized that it is up to the U.S. to ensure that Israel complies with the terms of the resolution.

On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained that Israel will not agree to a ceasefire until Hamas is dismantled. This position was reiterated by Israel’s representative to the Security Council, Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly, who stated that Israel’s goal remains to eliminate Hamas’s capabilities and ensure Gaza does not pose a future threat.

U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have insisted that Israel supports the ceasefire resolution. However, these claims appear to be contradicted by Israel’s continued military actions and public statements rejecting the ceasefire.

Despite the passing of the resolution, Israel has continued its military operations in Gaza. The Gaza health ministry reported on Tuesday that Israeli forces had killed 40 Palestinians and wounded 120 in the previous 24 hours. Video footage showed Israeli forces shelling tents in a supposed safe zone in central Gaza. Al Jazeera reported that at least 11 people, including children, were killed in attacks across northern and central Gaza around the time of the vote, with four more Palestinians killed in a bombing of Gaza City.

The ongoing violence has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where a near-total blockade has severely restricted the flow of aid. Humanitarian organizations have warned of widespread hunger and a looming famine as the conflict continues.

Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program, highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, noting that aid efforts have been severely hampered by the conflict. “We need a ceasefire now so that aid from our program and other organizations can flow into Gaza at scale,” she said.

The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has prompted calls for an immediate ceasefire from various international organizations. The continued blockade and shelling have left millions of Palestinians without access to basic necessities, including food, clean water, and medical supplies. Humanitarian groups have repeatedly stressed the need for an end to hostilities to prevent further loss of life and suffering.

The resolution’s success will depend on sustained international pressure and a genuine commitment from all involved parties to end the violence and address the underlying issues driving the conflict.

“Our priority is to save lives and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those in need,” said Cindy McCain.

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