The Big Question About the UN Security Council’s Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

On March 25, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2728 , regarding the ongoing war in Gaza, by a vote of 14-0. The United States abstained rather than – as it usually does when the Israeli regime dislikes a resolution – using its “permanent member” veto.

The meat of the resolution “[d]emands 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, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs, and further demands that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain.”

I have several questions about the resolution, including whether “all hostages” includes the thousands of Palestinian Arabs held by the Israeli regime, often for years, often without charge or trial. They’re not usually referred to as “hostages” by Israel or its allied regimes, but since they’re occasionally traded off for Israeli captives, they’re “hostages” by definition.

A second question: Why just until the end of Ramadan (April 8)? If the UN Security Council wants an end to the fighting, why not demand a PERMANENT end to the fighting?

But here’s the big question:

Now that the UN Security Council has issued its demands, how are UN member states, especially the US, going to enforce those demands?

UN Security Council resolutions are binding on all UN member states.

If this resolution means anything at all, the initial response SHOULD be for all UN member states to immediately declare and enforce a ban on the sale or delivery of arms to the belligerent parties.

Yet White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby insisted at a press briefing that “we are still providing tools and capabilities, weapons systems so that Israel can defend itself… no change by this nonbinding resolution on what Israel can or cannot do in terms of defending itself.”

The resolution is not “nonbinding.” The Security Council HAS ordered a ceasefire, the the US regime IS bound by that order, and Kirby’s opinion that murdering tens of thousands of civilians and subjecting hundreds of thousands to starvation, etc. constitutes Israel “defending itself” doesn’t magically change so much as a comma in that resolution or an atom of that obligation.

While it’s a given that some other regimes are also going to flout a system of international law they loudly invoke when they find it convenient, the regimes that do take their obligations seriously should start freezing US assets and sanctioning US regime figures until such time as the US regime decides to bring its actions into compliance with the “rules-based international order” it so piously claims to lead and personify.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism, publisher of Rational Review News Digest, and moderator of Antiwar.com’s commenting/discussion community.