UN Security Council Passes First Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Resolution Since October 7

ON 03/26/2024 AT 06 : 06 AM

For the first time since the current war in Gaza began, the UNSC passed a formal demand for an immediate ceasefire by all parties.
Rafah under Israeli bombing seige, ealry morning hours of March 26 2024.
Soon after the UN Security Council mandated ceasefire in Gaza was supposed to happen, Israel launched a new wave of bombing in Rafah, destroying homes and hospitals, killing and injuring hundreds in the last remaining major city in Gaza. Peace Warrior, via the social media platform X

Unlike all other resolutions proposed since the Hamas invasion into northern Israel on October 7, 2023, this one, resolution 2728, passed without a single “no”, even from those without the power to veto it. The final count had 14 countries voting in favor, with the United States abstaining.

The new resolution was submitted to the council by the E-10, the ten non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, immediately following the previous U.S.-sponsored resolution which recognized only the “imperative” for a ceasefire without ordering one to happen. That earlier one was vetoed on March 22 by Russia and China, both part of the permanent five security council members including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. All five have the power to block any measure with a no vote, unlike the E-10 group.

The full text of the new measure – complete and unedited -- is below.

The Security Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question,

Reiterating its demand that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and in this regard deploring all attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as all violence and hostilities against civilians, and all acts of terrorism, and recalling that the taking of hostages is prohibited under international law,

Expressing deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,

Acknowledging the ongoing diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, aimed at reaching a cessation of hostilities, releasing the hostages and increasing the provision and distribution of humanitarian aid,

1. Demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs, and further demands that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain;

2. 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, in line with international humanitarian law as well as resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023);

3. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

The tie of item 1’s ceasefire to the release of all “hostages” uses a term which the Security Council, the United States, and Israel have typically reserved for those prisoners taken by Hamas. Israel estimates there are around 130 individuals still held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

The clause about “the urgent need to… reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip” is understood to be a reference to Israel’s ongoing slaughter of innocent Palestinians during the war. It continues to justify that by saying alternately that Hamas is using civilians as “human shields” and therefore collateral damage is happening, and that the Palestinian civilians are to blame for their own deaths because they allow Hamas to be present beside them.

Item 2 of the resolution also calls for increasing the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Currently there are at best dozens of trucks carrying aid which make it into that region, with Israeli Defense Forces accused of deliberately blocking aid from proceeding into Gaza on technicalities. Analysts say it would take upwards of 500 trucks of aid a day into the region, including food, water, and medical supplies, to meet the needs of people in a country where most infrastructure, businesses, schools, and most hospitals have already been destroyed.

The zionists also continue to stage attacks against people waiting for the aid trucks that do arrive to unload their goods. Psychopathic Israel denies both allegations, though there is undeniable evidence of both.

Israel’s active blocking of aid truck traffic into all of Gaza, along with its use of terrorist tactics to instill fear in those waiting to receive the aid, are already seen as war crimes by multiple global human rights institutions as well as the United Nations. Israel also announced this weekend that the The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the group chartered to provide aid for Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and for those forced by the wars to flee to other countries, was accused by Israel of being infiltrated by Hamas agents. Israel’s allegations, which independent analysts say are mostly made up, resulted in temporary suspension of funding from multiple countries.

Those lies are also behind two separate decisions regarding UNRWA.

One happened when Israel notified the UNRWA on March 24 that it would no longer allow UNRWA aid to be delivered anywhere in northern Gaza.

The other was part of the United States’ $1.2 trillion emergency funding resolution signed into law on March 22, with its primary purpose to allow the federal government to operate for another six months. In section 301 of that bill, the document, it states that “funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or other Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, including provisions of Acts providing supplemental appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, may not be used for a contribution, grant, or other payment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency”, regardless of whether already approved and banned through March 25, 2025, one year from now.

With UNRWA being the biggest source of funds for Palestinian people in Gaza, the United States being the largest government funder for this agency in the past, with 46% of the total, and many other allies of the U.S. following suit in banning further UNRWA contributions, the block against UNRWA amounts to a death sentence by starvation for many Palestinians in Gaza.

In explaining the United States choice to abstain on the resolution rather than veto it, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UNSC members it did so because the U.S. "some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution”. She repeated a past position that the U.S. believed the Security Council should have denounced Hamas’s actions in the war as part of the text, a point of view which resulted in outright vetoes on the three earlier ceasefire resolutions not authored by the United States. But she also praised the document’s call for release of all prisoners still being held by Hamas but didn't mention the thousands held by Israel and who are being tortured. 

She then pointed to everything being in Hamas’ hands now if the ordered ceasefire were to happen, despite that as written there is no sequence of events for what comes next. As written, unless it all happens there is no agreement.

"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," the U.S. ambassador continued. "A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage and so we must put pressure on Hamas to do just that."

Even the Security Council adjourned, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, strongly denounced what the 15 nations had allowed to pass with predictable rhetoric.

“Your demand for a ceasefire without conditioning it on the release of the hostages not only isn’t helpful, but it undermines the effort to secure their release," Erdan told the group.

"To this Council, Israeli blood is cheap,” he added. “This is a travesty and I’m disgusted."

How Israel and Hamas Reacted to the Security Council Measure

Prior to the resolution’s passage yesterday, Israeli war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu warned the White House he would be cancelling his planned trip to Washington if Biden did not give the order to veto the ceasefire declaration. On cue as the voting was completed on the resolution, Netanyahu’s office followed through by letting Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken know that they were pulling out of those discussions.

There is little doubt that Netanyahu’s public snub of Washington was mostly political, a show of strength primarily for the citizens of Israel. And while the prime minister’s presence in Washington could have helped influence passage of a supplemental spending measure for more weapons to keep the genocide going at its current pace in Gaza, what even the White House has not publicly commented on is that Biden had already arranged for that even before the Security Council measure was approved yesterday. It turns out that the same $1.2 trillion emergency funding measure signed Friday which also cut funds for Palestinian aid via UNRWA also authorized that “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act”, under the Act’s “Foreign Military Financing Program. Details of those new grants, which include supplemental spending of $725.3 million for advanced weapons systems, appear on pages 867 and 868 of the just approved House Resolution 2882.

For Team-Biden the meeting cancellation was a more serious concern, since high on its agenda were ongoing talks to convince Netanyahu to take a less drastic approach to what was and still is expected to be the most violent ground assault yet against mostly innocent Palestinians, this time in Rafah where bombing increased in intensity after the Security Council resolution was passed.

Netanyahu’s office followed up from the cancellation of his visit to Washington by issuing a statement declaring what the United States did by abstaining rather than vetoing the resolution represented a "clear retreat from the consistent position of the U.S." since the genocide started on October 7.

“Regrettably,” the statement said, “the United States did not veto the new resolution.”

"This withdrawal hurts both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages, because it gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a cease-fire without the release of our hostages," the statement continued.

Mark Miller, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, called the release from Netanyahu’s office as “surprising and unfortunate”.

John Kirby, speaking on behalf of the White House, said the statements made little sense to the Biden administration.

“There is no reason for this to be seen as some sort of escalation,” he told reporters yesterday. “Nothing has changed about our policy. We still want to see a cease-fire. We still want to get all hostages out. And we still want to see more humanitarian assistance get in to the people of Gaza.”

Besides attempting to downplay any concerns about a possible rift with Netanyahu and Israel regarding the genocide, the U.S. has – both in the Security Council hearings themselves via Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and since then by other statements from within Team-Biden – characterized the resolution passed yesterday as “non-binding”, effectively dismissing criticism of the action to just abstain as not meaning much and since Israel will only ignore the resolution and the Security Council won't enforce it, it doesn't mean much. 

That is unfortunately just another falsehood piled atop others the White House has attempted to support about the war, including that Israel is not engaging in war crimes in its assault on the Palestinians in Gaza.

As word began spreading that the United States was attempting to convince that the resolution had no force of law about it, Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attacked those claims in a meeting with reporters yesterday.

“All the resolutions of the Security Council are international law,” Farhan Haq told reporters. “So, they are as binding as international law is.”

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations, reiterated that in his own statement after the vote yesterday.

“Security Council resolutions are binding,” he said. “And if Israel is not going to implement it, then it is the duty of the Security Council to use Chapter 7 [of the UN charter] to take measures, and punitive measures, in order to make them obey the resolution of the Security Council.”

Representatives from Hamas gave strong verbal support for the newly passed resolution.

“The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas welcomes today's call by the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire," the statement said. “We emphasize the necessity of reaching a permanent ceasefire that leads to the withdrawal of all zionist forces from the Gaza Strip and the return of displaced persons to their homes from which they were forced out. We also affirm our readiness to immediately engage in a prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners held by both sides.”

“In the context of the resolution's text, we stress the importance of freedom of movement for Palestinian citizens and the entry of all humanitarian needs for all residents, in all areas of the Gaza Strip, including heavy equipment to remove rubble,” the statement continued.

“Hamas calls on the Security Council to pressure the occupation to comply with the ceasefire and to stop the genocide war and ethnic cleansing against our people,” it added.

Separately, negotiations for how to construct a ceasefire are ongoing in Doha, Qatar, where Egyptian and Qatari officials are working with representatives of Hamas and Israel’s Mossad security agency, with contributions from the United States and Israel’s War Cabinet.

It is also likely no coincidence that Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh is traveling to Tehran for talks with officials there. The topics are expected to cover the possibility of this last ceasefire in Gaza, and what to do if it does not come to pass. The announcement of the trip came directly from Iran’s state-owned Press TV media outlet.

Immediately after the Security Council vote, Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaan called the vote “positive”, adding that, "A more important step is effective action for its implementation.”

Despite the optimism expressed by multiple parties that the UN Security Council resolution might lead a rapid end to the violence in Gaza, all signs point to it mostly being ignored by the parties that matter. With Israel saying there will be no ceasefire until Hamas releases Israeli hostages, Hamas insisting in the parallel Qatar talks that this must be a permanent ceasefire in which all Israeli forces must withdraw, and the United States taking the position that UN Security Council resolutions are non-binding anyway, most observers believe that, unless something radically new comes out of the Qatar talks in the next several days, the war will soon proceed into its final deadly massacre and expulsion of the remaining Palestinians in Gaza. 

There is always a remote possibility that the United Nations might move to enforce the ceasefire by sending in troops of its own, but that would take another Security Council resolution that the U.S. would certainly veto.

For now, the zionist genocide will continue with the support of Israel's corrupt minions, the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and International Criminal Court.