UNSC Resolution on Gaza: Call for Ceasefire Shows Consensus of Intl Community

It was highly significant that the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire without delay in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The warring parties should accept the consensus of the international community and immediately cease military action.

The Security Council resolution calls on Israel and the Islamist group Hamas to implement without delay a ceasefire proposal presented by the United States over the war in Gaza.

In the vote, 14 of the 15 members of the Security Council — including China — voted in favor of the resolution. The fact that China, which is at odds with the United States, cast a vote for the resolution while Russia abstained without invoking its veto power can be called a landmark event.

It means that the international community as a whole, including China and Russia, has shared the same awareness that the devastation that sacrifices scores of civilians, including women and children, cannot be ignored.

The ceasefire proposal consists of three stages: an immediate ceasefire; the release of all hostages and a permanent end to hostilities; and the reconstruction of Gaza. However, Israel has not stopped fighting, and Hamas is seeking to amend the proposal.

During the eight-month conflict, the death toll in Gaza from Israeli military attacks has exceeded 37,000. Although triggered by Hamas’ cross-border attack, Israel’s response has been far beyond the scope of its right to self-defense and is totally unacceptable.

Even if there are holes in the content of the resolution, the priority must be to achieve an immediate ceasefire and the humanitarian crisis must be stopped.

What cannot be overlooked is that, prior to adoption of the resolution by the Security Council, an Israeli military operation to rescue four hostages held in central Gaza resulted in the deaths of more than 270 local residents, including many children. Accusations of a disregard for human life are unavoidable.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under mounting criticism not only from the international community, but from within Israel itself.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a moderate who leads an opposition party, left the war cabinet because Netanyahu has yet to present a plan for governing Gaza after the fighting ends.

To stay in power, Netanyahu is increasingly leaning toward far-right parties that are part of his coalition government. There are concerns that out of consideration for far-right forces, Israel will harden its stance in ceasefire negotiations brokered by the United States, Egypt and other countries, further weakening the momentum for peace.

U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned that if Israel expands its offensive, Washington will suspend its supply of arms. Unless Israel changes its hard-line stance, the United States needs to step up efforts to pressure Israel within the scope of actually reviewing its support.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 14, 2024)