The UN Security Council on Monday passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan, the immediate and unconditional release of hostages and “the urgent need to expand the flow” of aid into Gaza.

In this meeting there were 14 votes in favour with the United States abstaining.

The resolution is a bare-bones call for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, which began on 11 March. It also demands the return of about 130 hostages seized in Israel and held in Gaza and emphasizes the urgent need to allow ample lifesaving aid to reach a starving population in the besieged enclave.

The demand to end hostilities has so far eluded the Council following the Israeli forces’ invasion of Gaza in October after Hamas attacks left almost 1,200 dead and 240 taken hostage.

Since then, Israel’s daily bombardment alongside its near total blockade of water, electricity and lifesaving aid has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza,  according to the health ministry there, where a recent UN-backed report showed an imminent famine unfolding.

In his remarks, French Ambassador and Permanent Representative Nicholas de Rivière  welcomed the adoption of the resolution, stressing that “it was high time” that the Security Council act. 

“The adoption of this resolution demonstrates that the Security Council can still act when all of its members make the necessary effort to discharge their mandate,” he said.

“The Security Council’s silence on Gaza was becoming deafening, it is high time now for the Council to finally contribute to finding a solution to this crisis,” he added, noting that it is not yet over and that the 15-member body, will have to remain mobilized and immediately get to work.

“It will have to, following Ramadan, which finishes in two weeks, [the Council] will have to establish a permanent ceasefire,” the Ambassador added, stressing also the importance of the two-State solution.

(UN).

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