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Finally, the U.N. passes a ceasefire resolution.


On Monday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza — and for the first time since the beginning of the Israeli military’s genocide of Palestinians, the United States abstained rather than vetoing it.

Security Council resolutions are legally binding, despite what the Biden administration would have us believe. But it’s up to the Palestine solidarity movement to ensure the U.S. government enforces it.

What does the resolution say? 

The resolution demands an immediate ceasefire that leads to a “lasting” and “sustainable” ceasefire, demands the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” and emphasizes “expand[ing] the flow of humanitarian assistance.” 

The resolution also contains several weaknesses, reflected in its intentionally vague, watered-down language, which obscures member states’ responsibilities to enforce the ceasefire. 

Concerningly, the resolution only demands a ceasefire “for the month of Ramadan,” which ends in two weeks. U.S. diplomats also lobbied for concessions until the last minute, leading to replacing the call for a“permanent ceasefire” with the much weaker “lasting ceasefire.”

The resolution demands the release of all hostages, but it fails to explicitly name the tens of thousands of Palestinians held illegally in Israeli detention and subject to systematic abuse, instead referring ambiguously to both parties complying with “their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain.” 

And although the resolution does “reiterate its demand for the lifting of all barriers to provision of humanitarian aid at scale” — in a clear message to the Israeli government —  this essential clause is buried at the end of a longer sentence that merely emphasizes the need to expand the flow of humanitarian aid. As JVP international advisor Phyllis Bennis puts it, “in UN diplo-speak… ‘emphasizing’ something ain’t even close to ‘demanding’ that it happen.”

Nevertheless, the U.S.’s decision to abstain on the vote has inflamed tensions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who immediately announced that he was canceling a high-level Israeli delegation bound for Washington. 

Biden had explicitly requested the meeting to raise concerns about Israel’s potential ground invasion of Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city where nearly 1.5 million Palestinians are currently sheltering. Biden has insisted on a plan to evacuate civilians, however impossible that may be, and has called the planned ground invasion a “red line.”

What does this mean for the movement?

That a ceasefire resolution was finally achieved is in large part due to the massive pressure being exerted by the Palestine solidarity movement. It’s a reminder that pressure works, and that now is not the time to let up. 

That it took this long, however, shows us how far we have to go. The U.S. vetoed four previous UNSC ceasefire resolutions while the Israeli military slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children, even after the World Court found South Africa’s claim that Israel is committing genocide to be “plausible.” 

Gaza is now a shell of its former self, its entire landscape rendered unrecognizable by the Israeli military’s months-long genocidal onslaught. Over 32,000 Palestinians have been killed. Full-blown famine is imminent, and half of Gaza’s entire population — 1.1 million people — are facing starvation. 

Yet the Biden administration remains intent on continuing to arm the Israeli military. 

Immediately following the passage of the resolution, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was already undermining it by claiming that U.N. Security Council resolutions aren’t legally binding. 

This is patently false — and it tells us that the Biden administration is fully prepared to skirt any and all responsibility to enforce this resolution, which would necessitate cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons to the Israeli military. 

Last week, Biden signed off on a spending bill that will provide $3.8 billion in funding to the Israeli military. Moreover, the same day the UNSC resolution was passed, the State Department shockingly determined that the Israeli government was in compliance with international law regarding both its conduct in Gaza, as well as the provision of humanitarian assistance. 

This is an outrageous assertion to make while the Israeli government uses U.S. weapons to commit genocide against Palestinians: bombing homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship, deliberately destroying critical infrastructure, and blocking life-saving humanitarian aid from entering Gaza even as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians face imminent famine. These are all clear violations of U.S. and international law, which should trigger the suspension of U.S. security assistance. 

The spending bill that passed last week will also ban funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) through March 2025. All the while, the U.S. military continues to conduct aid airdrops in Gaza — a public relations maneuver intended to diffuse pressure on the U.S. government.

These aid drops won’t prevent a famine, and they do not absolve the United States government of its complicity in this genocide. They’re also dangerous, expensive, and inefficient. Already this week, 12 Palestinians drowned while trying to reach air dropped aid that fell into the Mediterranean Sea. 

To be clear: U.N. Security Council resolutions are binding for all member states. But the reality is that the U.S. is only going to comply with this resolution if the movement for Palestinian liberation forces them to. 

That’s where we come in. Similar to the genocide case before the World Court, this ceasefire resolution is a tool we can use to push even harder for an end to U.S. military funding to the Israeli government. 

It’s also a clear indication that pressure is working, and that the Biden administration is walking an increasingly narrow tightrope. We have a critical opening right now to push for an end to all U.S. military funding to the Israeli government, in line with the U.N. Security Council’s demand for a full ceasefire. 

Nearly six months into the Israeli government’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, our moral imperative to secure a permanent ceasefire remains as urgent as ever — and we need you with us to keep up the pressure on Biden. 

Tell Congress: Stop funding the Israeli military.

With every passing day, the U.S.-Israel alliance comes closer to cracking under the weight of the pressure of our movements. Now is the moment to demand a full end to U.S. complicity in Israel’s genocide.

Use this tool from our sibling organization, JVP Action, to call your members of Congress and demand an end to the flow of U.S. military funding and weapons to Israel. 

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