By Sophie Squire
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US said it supports a ceasefire in Gaza—but its UN resolution didn’t demand one

The US resolution recognised the importance of a ceasefire, but didn’t push for one
Issue 2898
A picture of Joe Biden and Binyamin Netanyahu shaking hands illustrating an article about the US ceasefire resolution

Joe Biden and Binyamin Netanyahu (Picture: US Embassy in Jerusalem)

In a hypocritical move to whitewash its support for Israel’s genocide, the US put forward a United Nations (UN) resolution that used the word “ceasefire”.

For months, the US has vetoed three resolutions at the UN Security Council that mentioned a ceasefire. These votes permitted months of unabated slaughter of Palestinians by the Israeli state. 

China and Russia, who are permanent members of the council, vetoed the US resolution on Friday.

The resolution itself was an attempt by the US to try and satisfy calls for a ceasefire by ordinary people across the world while still protecting Israel’s right to continue its genocidal plans.

It said it supported a ceasefire to last for six weeks to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. This would still give Israel room to continue its assaults on the Palestinians when the six weeks are up. 

While mentioning the suffering of the Palestinians, the resolution did not say who was causing the suffering—the Israeli state. 

In reality, the motion was not really a call for a ceasefire at all. 

The document made it a condition that resistance group Hamas returned Israeli hostages. It backed “diplomatic efforts to secure such a ceasefire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages”.

Israel backed the resolution. “The American resolution, should it have passed, would have marked a moment of morality for the UN,” Israeli UN envoy Gilad Erdan said, praising the US’s willingness to “condemn the Hamas monsters.”

Erdan went on to underline a coming ground offensive on Rafah where 1,3 million Palestinians are sheltering. “The fire will grow again and spread. This is what will happen without an operation in Rafah. Israel sees no alternative. The road to a permanent ceasefire passes through Rafah,” he said.

Palestinian analyst Nour Odeh said the document did not convince her. “The UN resolution is marketed as a ceasefire,” she said. “But the text reads like a way to exonerate Israel of any culpability—which will harm Palestinians in the future.

“Future International Court of Justice rulings can adopt this language that ignores basic violations of international law.”

Along with China and Russia, Algeria voted against the resolution and Guyana abstained. Eleven states voted in favour of the resolution. 

Ten more members of the Security Council drafted an alternative resolution, which called for an immediate ceasefire for Ramadan. UN representatives for Russia said it would back this resolution, which the security council was set to discuss on Monday.

Al Jazeera news correspondent Gabriel Elizondo said, “The key part is the wording. It ‘demands an immediate ceasefire’ for the month of Ramadan. It leaves nothing to the imagination, nothing to interpret. It’s very clear.”

The US will try to pose as a friend to the Palestinians who wanted to negotiate peace, as opposed to its imperialist rivals Russia and China.

But Israel is US imperialism’s watchdog in the Middle East—and the US’s hands are drenched in Palestinians’ blood.

The former US ambassador to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Christopher Henzel, admitted that the resolution wouldn’t make much difference to the US’s relationship with Israel. He said that the US has “massive leverage over Israel as the key supplier of these weapons and other sort of support, but in practice, it is not going to exercise that leverage”.

“So instead, it falls to these statements and declarations in the security council, which I don’t think in the near term will put too much pressure on Israel,” he said.

Biden is under pressure from the Palestine solidarity movement. The Stop The War Coalition in Britain said, “The US resolution was clearly a calculated political move from Joe Biden in view of November’s presidential election.

“The lives of Palestinians mean nothing to him or those in charge of Western governments. If they did, this call for a ceasefire would have happened in October.

“We must continue to demand a comprehensive, immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to all arms sales to Israel.

“We urge all our groups and supporters to step up their activities in building for another massive march on Saturday 30 March.”

It called on workers to join the workplace day of action for Palestine on 1 May. Keep up pressure against Israel’s backers in the White House and Downing Street. 

  • Join the demonstration for Palestine in London on Saturday 30 March, 12 noon central London

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