The United Nations Security Council has unanimously called for an immediate and lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The resolution, advocated by the 10 non-permanent members, also demands the swift and unconditional release of all hostages and underscores “the urgent need to expand the flow” of humanitarian aid into the region. 

Despite the urgency, the United States abstained from voting, with the remaining 14 council members supporting the resolution.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, attributed the abstention to the resolution’s failure to incorporate a condemnation of Hamas, stating that “Certain key edits were ignored, including our request to add a condemnation of Hamas.” The decision not to veto, however, was explained by the necessity of increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza, contingent upon the release of captives.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised the critical importance of adhering to the resolution, especially given its timing with Ramadan, labelling any failure to do so as “unforgivable.” He expressed this stance in a post on the social platform X, reinforcing the resolution’s significance.

While UN Security Council resolutions are legally binding, their implementation often faces challenges due to the limited enforcement mechanisms of the UN. This historical context underscores the complexities of achieving compliance with such demands.

The White House clarified that the absence of specific language deemed essential by the US led to the abstention, indicating no shift in US policy. Conversely, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office perceived the US’s decision not to veto as a retreat from its established position, potentially detrimental to the efforts against Hamas and the plight of over 130 hostages. 

In light of these developments, Netanyahu has opted not to send a high-level delegation to Washington for a meeting with US President Joe Biden, initially intended to discuss potential ground operations in Rafah, where over 1 million internally displaced Palestinians are sheltering.