Ambassadors vote for U.N. Security Council cease-fire resolution

The ambassadors of the United Kingdom, United States, and Algeria raise their hands to vote in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution for a cease-fire in Gaza in New York on June 10, 2024.

(Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

'Glimmer of Hope' as UN Security Council Approves Gaza Cease-Fire Resolution

"We voted for this text to give diplomacy a chance," said Algeria's U.N. ambassador. "It is time to halt the killing."

In a move that boosts the three-phase plan announced by President Joe Biden late last month, the United Nations Security Council on Monday voted 14-0—with permanent member Russia abstaining—in favor of a U.S.-sponsored resolution for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Russia chose not to exercise its power to veto the resolution, which urges Israel and Hamas to "fully implement its terms without delay and without condition."

Responding to the vote, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement that "although the Biden administration should have allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a permanent cease-fire resolution many months and many slaughtered Palestinians ago, we welcome today's development as a positive and long overdue step toward ending the genocide."

"The Biden administration must now use American leverage to force [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to agree to a permanent cease-fire so that the massacres of Palestinian civilians can end, all hostages and political prisoners can safely go free, international tribunals can begin holding those responsible for war crimes accountable, and the world can finally begin pursuing a credible end to the illegal occupation of Palestine that has fomented decades of injustice and oppression."

As U.N. Newsexplained:

Phase one includes an "immediate, full, and complete cease-fire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners."

It calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from "populated areas" of Gaza, the return of Palestinians to their homes and neighborhoods throughout the enclave, including in the north, as well as the safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance at scale.

Phase two would see a permanent end to hostilities "in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."

In phase three, "a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza" would begin and the remains of any deceased hostages still in the strip would be returned to Israel."

The council also underlined the proposal's provision that if negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the cease-fire will continue as long as negotiations continue.

"The only way to end this cycle of violence and build a durable peace is through a political settlement," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield—who vetoed several previous Security Council cease-fire resolutions— said following Monday's vote.

The Biden administration has provided Israel with billions of dollars in military aid, arms and ammunition sales, and diplomatic cover.

In a statement, Hamas—which led the October 7 attack on Israel that left more than 1,100 people dead and over 240 others taken hostage—welcomed the resolution's passage and affirmed its willingness "to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles."

However, Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, Israel's representative at the U.N., said her country's objectives in the war have not changed and vowed to keep fighting "until all of the hostages are returned and Hamas' military capabilities are dismantled."

"Israel will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time," she added.

According to Palestinian and international agencies, at least 37,124 Palestinians—mostly women and children—have been killed by Israeli forces during the 248-day Gaza onslaught, which is the subject of an International Criminal Court genocide case brought by South Africa and supported by more than 30 nations and regional blocs. Nearly 85,000 Palestinians have also been injured. At least 11,000 other Palestinians are missing and believed buried beneath the rubble of hundreds of thousands of bombed-out buildings.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged crimes including extermination.

Algerian Ambassador Amar Bendjama said after Monday's vote that "as a free and dignified people, the Palestinians will never accept living under occupation. They will never abdicate their fight for liberation."

"This text is not perfect, but it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians as the alternative is continued killing and suffering," he added. "We voted for this text to give diplomacy a chance. It is time to halt the killing."

The Security Council resolution's passage follows last month's vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood—a move supported by 143 members of the World Body but vehemently opposed by Israel and the U.S. Only nine nations voted against recognizing Palestine as an independent state.

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