Hamas, Palestinian Authority welcome UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire

Terror group says it’s ready for an immediate swap of ‘prisoners’; Ramallah hopes Israel will be ‘forced’ to implement decision; Turkey urges ‘united stand’ against Jewish state

UN vehicles drive around buildings destroyed in previous Israeli strikes Gaza City, on March 25, 2024. (AFP)
UN vehicles drive around buildings destroyed in previous Israeli strikes Gaza City, on March 25, 2024. (AFP)

Hamas on Monday welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing war with Israel sparked by the Palestinian terror group’s massive attack on the south, saying it was ready to release hostages it abducted during the devastating assault.

The Palestinian Authority and Turkey also praised the development at the UN.

The war in Gaza erupted with Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air, and sea, killing 1,200 people. Terrorists also seized 253 hostages, mostly civilians and of all ages. Israel responded with a military campaign to topple Hamas’s Gaza regime and free the hostages, some 130 of whom are still in captivity.

Hamas thanked the UN Security Council for its resolution and called for “a permanent ceasefire that leads to the withdrawal of all Zionist forces from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the displaced to the homes from which they left.”

The UNSC resolution also demanded the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas. In a statement posted online, the terror group said that it is willing “to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides,” a reference to Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli jails that it is demanding as ransom for the hostages.

The Hamas statement added that a halt in fighting was needed to “bury our martyrs who have remained under the rubble for months” and for access to “humanitarian needs.”

“Hamas calls on the Security Council to pressure the occupation to adhere to the ceasefire and stop the war of genocide and ethnic cleansing against our people,” the statement said, while also calling for Palestinian statehood.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh holds a cabinet meeting during which he announced his government’s resignation and called for ‘new political measures’ in Ramallah, February 26, 2024. (Zain JAAFAR / AFP)

Palestinian Authority caretaker Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also welcomed the Security Council resolution, saying he hoped “that Israel will be forced to implement the decision, as Israel’s criminal behavior as a rogue state above the law, and as a criminal state, makes whoever stands with it an accomplice in the crime.”

Shtayyeh’s government resigned in February and is to be replaced by Mohammad Mustafa, due to an internal shake-up of the PA.

“We welcome the UN Security Council resolution,” Hussein al-Sheikh, minister for civilian affairs in the PA, 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.”

Turkey praised the UNSC resolution, with a Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying “We consider the UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan and humanitarian access to Gaza as a positive step,” the Daily Sabah outlet reported.

“We call on the international community to take a united stand against Israel to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the spokesperson said.

The PA Foreign Ministry urged the Security Council to implement the resolution immediately.

The resolution “demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for the resolution to be swiftly implemented.

“The Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” he wrote on X. “This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable.”

It marked the first time that the Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza since the start of the war.

Washington was averse to the word ceasefire earlier in the nearly six-month-old war in the Gaza Strip and used its veto power to block previous resolutions.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations, speaks after a vote to abstain as the United Nations Security Council passed a ceasefire resolution in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, its first demand to halt fighting at UN headquarters, March 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The Security Council resolution also “emphasizes the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip and reiterates its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.”

In the wake of the vote, and Washington refraining from its power to veto, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned delegation to Washington for talks on the war and contentious Israeli plans for a Rafah offensive.

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