Questions, controversies, tempers swirl around UNSC ceasefire resolution – Day 171

Questions, controversies, tempers swirl around UNSC ceasefire resolution – Day 171

Egos, assumptions, denialism accompany passage of UN Security Council resolution; meanwhile, another confirmation of genocide by Israel; German support for UNRWA; air drop deaths; hospitals under siege; Israel’s “compliance” with int’l law, more

By IAK staff, from reports


IT FINALLY HAPPENED – Al Jazeera reports: Palestinian rights advocates have welcomed the US decision to let the UNSC resolution on Gaza pass but questioned whether Washington will use its leverage to pressure Israel to end its abuses in Gaza – specifically whether it will provide the “wish list” of weapons Israel is likely to seek.

“The policy of providing Israel and Netanyahu in particular with all the tools he needs to continue the assault on Gaza has continued uninterrupted since October,” said Tariq Kenney-Shawa, a US policy fellow at Al-Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank.

“The Biden administration is taking what it sees as the necessary public steps to make it look like they’re doing everything they can to hold Israel’s feet to the fire, when in reality they’re facilitating and enabling Israel to no end. Israel has yet to face any concrete consequences from the US for its war crimes and genocide.”

See the text of the resolution here

YES, IT IS BINDING – Al Jazeera reports: A spokesman for UN chief Guterres has rejected US claims that the UN Security Council resolution on Gaza was not binding under international law.

“All the resolutions of the Security Council are international law,” Farhan Haq told reporters. “So they are as binding as international law is.”

Envoys of Palestine and Mozambique also rejected the US’s claim.

“Security Council resolutions are binding,” said Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy. “And if Israel is not going to implement it, then it is the duty of the Security Council to use Chapter 7 to take measures, and punitive measures, in order to make them obey the resolution of the Security Council.”

Chapter 7 of the UN charter allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention.

LAST-MINUTE WORD CHANGE IN RESOLUTION WORDING – UN News reports: Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the fact that the word “permanent” in operative paragraph one was replaced with weaker language is “unacceptable”. [The sticking point was the removal of the word “permanent” from an earlier version of the draft. It now calls for an “immediate ceasefire”.]

“We all received instructions for a vote on the text that contained the word ‘permanent’” and anything else could be seen as permission for Israel to continue its attacks, he said.

As such, his delegation proposed an oral amendment to return the word “permanent” to the draft.

The Russian verbal amendment did not pass due to lack of votes.

RESOLUTION SPONSORS – The UN Security Council’s 10 elected members, Algeria, Guyana, Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Korea, and Switzerland sponsored the ceasefire resolution. Official text is here

Reactions to resolution

From Office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas:

South Africa says it welcomes the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all captives held by Palestinian groups.

“It is now the responsibility of the United Nations Security Council to ensure that there is compliance with the resolution, which is binding on the parties,” South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

From Antonio Guterres, UN chief:

From Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director:

From Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President:

From Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International head:

From Doctors Without Borders US Executive Director:

From Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada:

From Trita Parsi, co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

Reuters reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said he will not send a delegation as planned to Washington after the United States refrained from vetoing a U.N. Security Council proposal calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to Netanyahu’s cancellation:

NOTE: Since the resolution states “all hostages “should be released and does not specify Israeli hostages, it can also therefore be applied – and possibly is meant to apply – to the 9,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons – especially the over 300 who have never been charged with a crime, the 200 minors, and the 70 women (not including an unknown number abducted from Gaza since October 7th)


ISRAEL’S GENOCIDE IS PART OF A LONG-STANDING POLICY OF ERASURE – OHCHR reports: The UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, writes in her report to the UN Security Council – which was released at the same time as the Gaza resolution vote – that Israel’s genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza is an escalatory stage of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure”.

“For over seven decades this process has suffocated the Palestinian people as a group – demographically, culturally, economically and politically – seeking to displace it and expropriate and control its land and resources. The ongoing Nakba must be stopped and remedied once and for all.”

UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese
UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese (photo)

The UN report finds that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that the threshold for several genocidal acts against Palestinians is met: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.

“Israel has de facto treated an entire protected group and its life-sustaining infrastructure as ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist-supporting’, thus transforming everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage, hence killable or destroyable,” says the report.

The report’s recommendations include: member states should “immediately implement an arms embargo on Israel” as well as “other economic and political measures necessary to ensure an immediate and lasting ceasefire”, which may include sanctions.

Albanese also recommends that South Africa take Israel’s case to the UN Security Council as Israel has been ignoring interim rulings by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on genocidal acts in Gaza.

The rapporteur called for independent and transparent investigations into violations of international law “by all actors”, and measures to ensure that “Israel, as well as states who have been complicit in the Gaza genocide” will acknowledge harm, commit to non-repetition and make reparations, including full cost of reconstructing Gaza.

“In the short term and as a temporary measure, in consultation with the State of Palestine, deploy an international protective presence to constrain the violence routinely used against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory,” recommends the report.

GERMAN SUPPORT FOR UNRWA – The German government says it is providing 45 million euros ($48m) to the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied West Bank. Notably, the distribution of this aid does not include Gaza.

“With this sum, we support health and education services as well as cash-for-work programs for Palestinian refugees,” the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development said in a post on X.

This comes days after the US Congress ratified a bill that suspends UNRWA funding until March 2025, which the UN organisation said will lead to more people not having enough to eat in the Gaza Strip.

People mourn family members killed in Israeli strikes at al-Aqsa Hospital
People mourn family members killed in Israeli strikes at al-Aqsa Hospital (photo)

Christians have observed Palm Sunday at Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza City. Only 800 to 1,000 Christians are believed to still live in Gaza, the oldest Christian community in the world, dating back to the first century.
Christians have observed Palm Sunday at Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza City. Only 800 to 1,000 Christians are believed to still live in Gaza, the oldest Christian community in the world, dating back to the first century. (photo)

AIR DROP DEATHS – Middle East Monitor reports: At least 18 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip today after an aid airdrop malfunctioned, Gaza’s Government Media Office said.

The fatalities included 12 people who drowned in the sea in the northern Gaza Strip and six in a stampede while gathering to obtain aid, the office said in a statement.

“The aid airdrops pose a real threat to the lives of hungry Palestinians,” the statement warned.

It said some aid fell into the sea, inside Israel or in war zones.

HOSPITALS STILL UNDER SIEGE – Al Jazeera reports: Within the past 24 hours, two hospitals in Khan Younis have been under Israeli military siege: al-Amal and Nasser hospitals.

Military vehicles, tanks and attack drones are encircling these two facilities. They’re also blocking the entrance with piles of sand, preventing medical staff, patients and injured people inside from leaving safely and constantly failing to provide a safe corridor for people and evacuees trapped inside the hospital.

What we’re getting confirmed from al-Amal Hospital is that not only it has been under constant bombing and tank shells, but loudspeakers are ordering people inside the hospital to come out only with their underwear on. And that has been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses on the ground, those who managed to flee the harrowing situation.

For more: Gaza hospitals under Israeli siege: What you need to know

US SAYS ISRAEL IS “COMPLIANT” WITH INT’L LAW – Al Jazeera reports: The US Department of State says Israel and six other countries that receive US military aid – Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Ukraine – had submitted written assurances by a Sunday deadline that they are complying with human rights laws.

“In each case, these assurances were made by a credible high-level official in the partner government who has the ability and authority to make decisions and commitments about the issues at the heart of the assurances,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“We have not found them to be in violation of international humanitarian law, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance,” Miller said.

Ahead of the deadline, 17 senators had pressed the administration of US President Joe Biden not to immediately describe Israel’s assurances as credible.

UN predictions of an imminent famine in Gaza “make it abundantly clear that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government is not doing nearly enough to allow aid to reach starving and otherwise desperate people in Gaza”, said a letter signed by lawmakers including Chris Van Hollen, Tim Kaine and Bernie Sanders.

The aftermath of Israeli strikes in Rafah
The aftermath of Israeli strikes in Rafah (photo)

ALARMING INTERRUPTIONS TO AID DISTRIBUTION – OCHA reports: On 22 March, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) expressed alarm at the series of attacks since early February on aid warehouses as well as police officers and other actors reportedly involved in securing the delivery of aid supplies.

OHCHR called on Israel to “ensure [the] entry of humanitarian aid and all other goods necessary for the survival of the civilian population at the required scale, facilitate the rebuilding of civilian infrastructure and ensure the safety of convoys, routes, warehouses, distribution sites, aid seekers and those securing and delivering aid.”

Reported attacks have not only contributed to a breakdown in civil order, according to OHCHR, but they have also culminated in a situation whereby young men have often monopolized access to scarce assistance. Members of the civilian police who do not directly participate in hostilities are civilians and “cannot be targeted on the basis of their status” under international humanitarian law, OHCHR emphasized.


Al Jazeera: What is UNRWA and why is it important for Palestinians?
Middle East Monitor: Complicit in genocide: Where Israel gets its weapons from
Middle East Monitor: Israel warns 4 European countries against Palestinian statehood recognition
Reuters: Destruction, lawlessness and red tape hobble aid as Gazans go hungry
Andalou Agency: Pro-Palestine group throws legal noose around dual-national Israel soldiers
Middle East Eye: How Israeli soldiers assaulted Palestinians during the raid on al-Shifa hospital
IMEMC News Reports
The aftermath of Israeli strikes in Rafah
The aftermath of Israeli strikes in Rafah (photo)


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 25: at least 33,138* (32,682 in Gaza* (14,280 children, 9,340 women), and at least 456 in the West Bank (116 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 40,042 Palestinian deaths.

At least 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – March 25: at least 79,694 (including at least 74,694 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 25: ~1,403 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~574 were civilians, 373 or 337 were security and/or military forces, ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 251 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 15 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

NBC reports: “According to the latest available IDF data… nearly 1 in 5, or 17%, of all Israel’s losses have come not at the hands of Hamas but from mishaps on its own side.”

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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