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Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

The United States has taken a significant step by introducing a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council, urging for an “immediate” ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. This move comes amidst mounting concerns over the potential for famine in the besieged Gaza Strip. Previously, the US had opposed Security Council texts containing the term “immediate,” but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed a shift in stance on Wednesday.

Blinken emphasized the necessity for any immediate cessation of hostilities to be tied to the release of hostages taken by Palestinian militants during the October 7th attack that triggered the conflict. Despite diplomatic efforts, the Israeli bombardment of Gaza persisted overnight, resulting in additional casualties and pushing the death toll higher.

Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, has become a focal point of the conflict, with Israel accusing Palestinian militants of using it as a hiding place. This accusation led to a prolonged Israeli raid on the hospital complex, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the territory. UN agencies have issued warnings about the dire situation in Gaza, where the civilian infrastructure has suffered significant damage, leaving its 2.4 million inhabitants on the brink of famine.

The draft resolution circulated by the United States emphasizes the urgent need for a ceasefire to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid delivery into Gaza. Although no vote has been scheduled on the resolution, Blinken stated that its adoption would send a strong message. Meanwhile, efforts to mediate a ceasefire, including discussions in Qatar, have faced challenges, with Hamas reporting negative responses from Israel.

The conflict has not been confined to Gaza, as tensions have escalated in the occupied West Bank, resulting in further casualties. Against this backdrop, international efforts are underway to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, including Cyprus’s initiative to establish a maritime corridor for delivering essential supplies to Gaza. Additionally, the Saudi government has pledged significant financial support to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, to assist in addressing the escalating humanitarian needs in Gaza.

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