U.N. Security Council Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire in Gaza as U.S. Abstains

The United Nations Security Council on Monday passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip during the remaining weeks of Ramadan, breaking a five-month impasse during which the United States vetoed three calls for a halt to the fighting.

The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor and the United States abstaining, which U.S. officials said they did in part because the resolution did not condemn Hamas. In addition to a cease-fire, the resolution also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and the lifting of “all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel immediately criticized the United States for allowing the resolution to pass, and ordered a delegation scheduled to go to Washington to hold high-level talks with U.S. officials to remain in Israel instead. President Biden had requested those meetings to discuss alternatives to a planned Israeli offensive into Rafah, the city in southern Gaza where more than a million people have sought refuge. American officials have said such an operation would create an humanitarian disaster.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office called the U.S. abstention from the vote a “clear departure from the consistent U.S. position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war,” and said it “harms both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages.”

Top Israeli officials indicated that they would not implement the resolution for now. “The State of Israel will not cease firing. We will destroy Hamas and continue fighting until the every last hostage has come home,” Israel Katz, the country’s foreign minister, wrote on social media.

Smoke rising during an Israeli bombardment on a building in Rafah on Sunday.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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