UN Security Council approves Gaza cease-fire resolution as US abstains

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The United Nations Security Council on Monday passed its first resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza after the U.S. abstained from the vote on Israel’s war against Hamas.

The final vote was 14 in favor, no votes against and one abstention. After the vote, the council broke into applause.

The resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and for the immediate release of all hostages.

The vote comes just two days after Russia and China vetoed a resolution from the U.S. that tied a cease-fire to the release of hostages.

The latest resolution has the backing of officials from the United Nations, who have expressed growing concern about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said after the vote that “this resolution must be implemented.”

“Failure would be unforgivable,” he wrote on X.

U.N. Security Council resolutions are legally binding, unlike those from the General Assembly. Still, they can technically be ignored.

The U.N.’s high court, which is hearing a genocide case related to the war, has ordered Israel to take measures to protect civilians in Gaza, but it’s not clear how much those calls are being addressed.

The decision for the U.S. to abstain may anger Israel, which has relied on its partner at the council to protect it during the war. Washington has vetoed three other resolutions calling for a cease-fire.

The cease-fire for the month of Ramadan comes as Israel has threatened to move into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering. Israel has previously threatened to fight against Hamas in Rafah by Ramadan, but has yet to do so.

Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he approved plans from his military for a Rafah operation, even as the U.S. has begun urging him to consider alternatives.

Israel is fighting against Hamas in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people. Hamas also took about 250 hostages, around 100 of whom are believed to be alive and still in its custody. More than 31,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza since the war began.

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