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US abstention from critical Gaza vote at UN provokes Israel: Key Highlights

Written by  Annesha Barua -- March 26th 2024 10:21 AM
US abstention from critical Gaza vote at UN provokes Israel: Key Highlights

US abstention from critical Gaza vote at UN provokes Israel: Key Highlights

PTC News Desk: Tensions escalated between Israel and the United States as the UN Security Council issued its first demand for a ceasefire in Gaza. The US decision to abstain from the vote drew ire from Israel, leading to the cancellation of a high-level delegation's visit to Washington. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the US of "retreating" from its stance by allowing the vote to pass without linking the ceasefire to the release of hostages held by Hamas.

The conflict in Gaza, which began on October 7 last year, has claimed the lives of over 32,000 Palestinians and has left the region facing a severe humanitarian crisis. As the war persists, Hamas has reiterated its commitment to a comprehensive ceasefire, including the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and the return of displaced Palestinians. The group had previously presented a ceasefire proposal to mediators and the United States in mid-March.


Israel-Hamas conflict escalates amid UN ceasefire resolution

1. Tensions between Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu reached a new height on Monday as the United States supported a United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, sparking a sharp rebuke from the Israeli leader. Netanyahu abruptly canceled a planned visit to Washington by a senior delegation to discuss Israel's potential offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The suspension of this meeting poses a significant obstacle to US efforts to persuade Netanyahu to explore alternatives to a ground invasion of Rafah, which serves as a relatively safe haven for Palestinian civilians amidst the conflict.

2. In response to these developments, US spokesperson John Kirby clarified that the UN Security Council resolution is non-binding and does not hinder Israel's ability to continue targeting Hamas. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reiterated President Biden's strong support for Israel's security and defense against all threats, including from Iran.

3. Hamas has informed mediators that it remains committed to its original stance on achieving a comprehensive ceasefire, which includes the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians, and a genuine exchange of prisoners. The group specifically called for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

4. Hamas had previously presented a ceasefire proposal to mediators and the United States in mid-March, which included the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, including some serving life sentences.

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5. In the early hours of Tuesday, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards the southern city of Sderot. Fortunately, all three were intercepted by Israeli air defenses. Sirens sounded in Sderot and nearby communities, heightening tensions in the region.

6. Additionally, the Israel Defense Forces conducted an airstrike on a building used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon's Mays al-Jabal early on Tuesday. Another incident involved the IDF spotting Hezbollah operatives at a post in Abou Chach using a drone and subsequently striking the location with a fighter jet. Israeli forces also targeted rocket and missile launching sites in southern Lebanon with artillery, responding to attacks on northern Israel earlier in the day.

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(Inputs from agencies)

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