Palestinian envoy says UNSC Gaza ceasefire vote 'must signal end of atrocities against our people' - as it happened

Ahram Online , Monday 25 Mar 2024

Ahram Online provided coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza on its 171st day.

Palestinian family
A Palestinian family walk past budlings destroyed in previous Israeli strikes as they collect things rescued from the rubble and wood in Gaza City, on March 25, 2024. AFP


22:30 Top European Union officials welcomed the resolution, calling for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of all captives.

"Implementation of this resolution is vital for the protection of all civilians," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

France's UN representative called for a sustained truce between Israel and Hamas beyond the ongoing month of Ramadan.

"This crisis is not over," said Nicolas de Riviere. "After Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, it will have to establish a permanent ceasefire."

The Jordanian foreign ministry stressed "the necessity of building on this decision" in a statement quoted by the ministry's spokesperson Sufyan Qudah.

He also expressed hope that "the Security Council and the international community would take action to safeguard the two-state solution and ensure the establishment of an autonomous and sovereign Palestinian state."

Qatar said it hopes the resolution "represents a step towards a permanent cessation of fighting in the Strip."

The gas-rich emirate has been engaged in weeks of mediation between Israel and Hamas to secure a truce in Gaza and an exchange of captives and prisoners.

South Africa Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor welcomed the resolution on public radio but stressed that "the ball is in the court of the Security Council."

Read reactions to the UNSC resolution from around the globe here.

20:30 The White House said Monday it was "perplexed" by Israel's decision to cancel the visit of a delegation that was to discuss US concerns over a possible offensive in southern Gaza.

"We're kind of perplexed" by the move, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists, saying it "seems like the (Israeli) prime minister's office is choosing to create a perception of daylight here when they don't need to."

20:00 A UN rights expert said Monday there were "reasonable grounds" to determine that Israel has committed several acts of "genocide" in its war in Gaza, also evoking "ethnic cleansing."

"The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel's assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group," Francesca Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights situation in the Palestinian territories, concluded in a report.

19:45 An elderly Palestinian woman, wounded from Israeli airstrikes that targeted her family in Gaza, recounts the harrowing experience that resulted in her injuries and the loss of some of her family members.



19:30 The Palestinian Authority on Monday hailed the UN Security Council's demand for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and said the fighting must end permanently.

"We welcome the UN Security Council resolution," Hussein Al-Sheikh, minister for civilian affairs in the Authority which has partial administrative control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said on social media platform X.

"We call for a permanent cessation to this criminal war and Israel's immediate withdrawal from the Gaza Strip."

19:10 Israel will not end its war against Hamas until it frees its captives, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday in Washington after Israel canceled another US-bound delegation over a UN Security Council ceasefire call.

"We have no moral right to stop the war while there are still hostages held in Gaza. The lack of a decisive victory in Gaza may bring us closer to a war in the north," Gallant said ahead of meetings with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Youths watch from afar as people search the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Asra residential compound, northwest of Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip, on March 25, 2024.AFP


19:00 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged implementation of the first Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza after Israel voiced anger.

"This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable," Guterres wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

18:45 Egypt has welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza for the first time since the beginning of the crisis despite its imbalance and limited time frame, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt welcomes the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during the month of Ramadan - for the first time since the beginning of the crisis and following the Security Council’s repeated inability to reach a resolution demanding a permanent ceasefire,” read the foreign ministry statement.

"Egypt calls for the immediate implementation of the ceasefire in a way that opens the way for dealing with all elements of the crisis," it added.

"Egypt considers that the adoption of this decision after more than five months of Israeli military operations that caused severe harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip - despite its imbalance as a result of its limited time frame and the obligations included in it - represents an important and necessary first step to put an end to the bloodshed and prevent more Palestinian civilian casualties and to provide the opportunity for humanitarian aid to enter the strip," added the statement.

"Egypt will continue its tireless efforts with international and regional parties to contain the Gaza Strip crisis as quickly as possible," it concluded.

18:30 In a press release, Hamas welcomed the resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council today calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war in Gaza while “emphasizing the necessity of reaching a permanent ceasefire, leading to the withdrawal of all Zionist forces from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the displaced to their homes.”

“We also affirm our readiness to engage in a prisoner exchange process immediately leading to the release of prisoners held by both parties,” added Hamas.

“We stress the importance of the freedom of movement for Palestinian citizens and the entry of all humanitarian needs for all residents in all areas of the Gaza Strip, including heavy machinery to remove rubble, so that we can bury our martyrs who have remained under rubble for months.”

The movement also called on the Security Council to “pressure the occupation to commit to a ceasefire and to stop the genocide and ethnic cleansing against our people.”

“Hamas affirms the right of our Palestinian people to establish their independent sovereign Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, the right of return, and self-determination, per international resolutions and international law.”

The movement added that “it appreciates the efforts of our brothers in Algeria and all countries in the Security Council that have supported and continue to support our people and work for the cessation of aggression and Zionist genocide.”

18:00 In emotional remarks to the UN Security Council on Monday, the Palestinian envoy said that the approval of a ceasefire resolution needed to be a "turning point" in ending the Gaza war.

"This must be a turning point," Riyad Mansour said, holding back tears.

"This must signal the end of this assault, of atrocities against our people."


Youths watch from afar as people search the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Asra residential compound, northwest of Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip, on March 25, 2024. AFP


17:45 The US abstention from a vote on a UN Security Council resolution demanding a Gaza ceasefire does not signal a change in Washington's policy, the White House said Monday.

Earlier today, the UN Security Council for the first time Monday demanded an immediate ceasefire after the United States abstained.

It does not represent a "shift in our policy," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists, saying the US backs a ceasefire but abstained because the resolution did not condemn Hamas.

17:30 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Monday the US abstention on a UN Security Council Gaza ceasefire call hurt Israel's fight against Hamas and the effort to release captives held in the territory.

"It gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a ceasefire without the release of our abductees," Netanyahu said, canceling the departure of a delegation set to leave for consultations in Washington.

17:00 The UN Security Council for the first time Monday demanded an immediate ceasefire after the United States abstained.

Drawing unusual applause in the often staid Security Council, all 14 other members voted in favour of the resolution which "demands an immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The resolution calls for the truce to lead to a "lasting, sustainable ceasefire" and demands that Hamas and other groups free Israeli captives seized on 7 October.

The successful resolution was drafted in part by Algeria, the Arab bloc's current member of the Security Council, with a diverse array of countries including Slovenia and Switzerland.


Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations, holds to abstain her vote as the United Nations Security Council passed a cease-fire resolution in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, its first demand to halt fighting at U.N. headquarters, Monday, March 25, 2024. AP


16:00 The UN Security Council is set to vote Monday on a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan.

However, another veto is expected as the United States claimed that the resolution could hurt negotiations to halt hostilities and release captives.

The resolution, put forward by the 10 elected council members, is backed by Russia, China, and the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations. 

15:00 Dozens of Palestinians were killed and injured Monday dawn in a series of Israeli bombardments in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital and various areas in the Gaza Strip, especially in Deir Al-Balah, at the Kuwait Roundabout, and in the city of Rafah as well as the eastern areas of Khan Younis. 

As the dire humanitarian situation is worsening, the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) said that Israel had definitively barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.


Palestinians mourn over shrouded bodies, killed in overnight Israeli bombardment, at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah on March 25, 2024. AFP

14:30 The Israeli army said that a barrage of eight rockets was fired from the Gaza Strip at Ashdod for the first time in over two months.
Two of the rockets were intercepted, while the rest struck open areas, the army said as reported by Times of Israel.
The rate of rocket fire from Gaza has slowed significantly in recent months as the battles between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters focused on ground attacks.

13:15 Israeli bombardment killed at least 107 Palestinians in Gaza over the past 24 hours, the Palestinian health ministry announced, adding that at least 32,333 people have been killed in the territory during more than five months of the war.

The toll includes 74,694 wounded people in the Gaza Strip since the war began on 7 October.

13:00 United Nations chief Antonio Guterres defended the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), describing it as a "lifeline of hope and dignity."

During a visit to the Wihdat refugee camp in the Jordanian capital Amman, Guterres said it would be "cruel and incomprehensible" to halt UNRWA's vital services to Palestinian refugees across the region.

On Sunday, the chief of the UN agency Philippe Lazzarini said that Israel had definitively barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.

The agency employs some 30,000 people across the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, providing healthcare, education, and other basic services.

"We must strive to keep the one-of-a-kind services that UNRWA provides flowing because that keeps hope flowing," Guterres said during his visit to the camp.

12:30 Israel's army claimed that some 20 Palestinian militants have been killed in the past day in close-quarters combat and airstrikes around two Gaza hospitals.

Israel has launched raids on and near several Gaza hospitals since the war erupted in October.

Palestinians living near Gaza's largest hospital Al-Shifa have reported hellish conditions, including corpses in the streets, constant bombardment, and the rounding up of men, who are stripped to their underwear and questioned.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Al-Amal Hospital had all of its entrances surrounded by military vehicles and that hospital staff were prohibited from leaving.

The Red Crescent on Sunday said military vehicles had also surrounded Nasser Hospital, about a one-kilometre (half-mile) drive from the Al-Amal medical centre, but the situation at Nasser on Monday was unclear.

11:50 Israel signaled openness to allowing the return of Palestinians displaced from the northern Gaza Strip as part of truce talks, Reuters reported. 

Hamas has sought to refuse any deal without an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has ruled this out. 

Hamas also wants hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza City and surrounding areas southward during the first stage of the almost six-month-old war to be allowed back north. 

Israel initially refused to do so, but that position has softened, an Israeli official briefed on the Doha talks said. 

"We are now willing to discuss the return of some of the displaced," the official told Reuters, without elaborating on numbers. The official, who requested anonymity, said Israel has also agreed in principle to release between 700 and 800 Palestinian prisoners in return for the 40 captives. 

That appeared to meet a demand of a Hamas proposal, for between 700 and 1,000 prisoners to be released. 

The Israeli official cautioned, however, that any final decision would hinge on how many of the prisoners were senior militants serving long sentences.

11:45 The Israeli army's data show that 30 of Israel’s troops have been wounded since Friday, according to Haaretz. All but five were wounded in the Gaza Strip, and two of the troops are said to be in “severe condition.”

Israel’s military has lost over 250 of its forces so far during the months-long ground offensive inside Gaza.

11:30 UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls has expressed her alarm regarding accounts of Palestinian women being raped by the Israeli occupation forces in February 2024. 

“It is abhorrent that such reports of sexual violence continue unabated not to mention that this is but one of the multiple forms of violence that Palestinian women are subjected to based on being Palestinian and being women,” UNSP Reem Alsalem said on X. 

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, or a constitutive act for genocide! It must stop!” She added.



11:00 The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has said that Israel had definitively barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.

"Despite the tragedy unfolding under our watch, the Israeli Authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any @UNRWA food convoys to the north," Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the agency, said Sunday on X.

10:30 China said it supported a new draft resolution at the UN Security Council on an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza after it and Russia vetoed an earlier text proposed by the United States.

"China supports this draft resolution and commends Algeria and other Arab countries for their hard work in this regard," foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said.

The new text, according to the version seen by AFP on Sunday, "demands an immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, "leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire."

It also "demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages as well as the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale."

The text is being put forward by non-permanent members of the Security Council, which worked with the United States over the weekend to avoid a veto, according to diplomats speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.

However, the United States warned that the resolution to be voted on Monday morning could hurt negotiations to halt hostilities, raising the possibility of another veto, this time by the Americans.

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