U.S. submits U.N. resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Here’s why it matters.

On Thursday, the United States ended decades of stalwart support for Israel in the United Nations Security Council, submitting a draft resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The resolution, which the U.S. has worked on with the governments of Egypt and Qatar, links the cessation of fighting with the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, . In February, the U.S. was the only nation on the Security Council to veto a similar resolution, saying that calling for an “immediate” end to military hostilities would imperil hostage negotiations.

Why did the U.S. decide to submit its resolution now?

The U.S. move comes at a delicate moment for U.S. and Israeli relations. With more than 30,000 civilian Palestinians estimated killed in Gaza as a result of the Israeli government’s military campaign responding to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that left nearly 1,200 dead in Israel, the Biden administration and Congressional Democrats have recently increased pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau to change their tactics.

Israel has largely ignored those calls, and has announced plans to attack Rafah, a city in Southern Gaza where it initially directed Palestinians to flee as it conducted operations in the northern part of the territory. The U.S. has strongly opposed this idea.

“A major military operation in Rafah would be a mistake, something we don’t support. And, it’s also not necessary to deal with Hamas, which is necessary,” Sec. of State Antony Blinken said at a news conference in Cairo this week.

Last week, Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York delivered a blistering speech on the Senate floor and calling for new Israeli elections.

Biden praised the speech, further angering Netanyahu, who addressed Congressional Republicans on Wednesday to denounce it.

What will the resolution actually accomplish?

That’s unclear. The U.S. is using the resolution to send a very public message to Netanyahu’s government that it opposes the way Israel is conducting the war in Gaza. The Security Council could vote Friday on the measure, but its full wording has not been made public. , which it says calls for “immediate and sustained ceasefire” that would last approximately six weeks with the goal of protecting civilians and securing safe passage for humanitarian assistance.

Unlike the council’s past votes on authorizing the use of force in Iraq, this one will not call on nations to carry out the enforcement of its objectives.

U.S. history of blocking resolutions critical of Israel

Perhaps the most notable aspect regarding the U.S. resolution is the venue where it is being submitted. Since 1945, the U.S. has vetoed dozens of Security Council resolutions designed to force Israel to make concessions with Palestinians. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the U.S. has been viewed as a lock to support Israel in that body.

On October 18, 2023, for instance, that called for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza and demanded that Israel rescind its evacuation order for residents in the northern half of the territory. At the time, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “the actions we take must be informed by the facts on the ground and support direct diplomacy that can save lives,” Al Jazeera reported.

How the resolution will play domestically

For many Democratic voters, Biden’s embrace of Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack was too one-sided in that it ignored decades of Palestinian suffering in Gaza.

In Michigan’s presidential primary, many Democrats protested Biden’s handling of the war, with Michigan has the largest Arab-American population of any state, but younger voters have expressed their displeasure with Biden over the U.S. support for Israel across the country.

The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board published a piece on Monday that suggested and Netanyahu’s government to try to court those disgruntled voters.

But it is unclear exactly how the resolution will be perceived by voters. conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 50% of U.S. adults believe that Israel’s military offensive has gone too far. In November, that number was 40%.

Previous post What to See This Week
Next post Performance improvement app Uplift takes grand prize of $25K at inaugural Golfweek Tech Lab