The Citizen (KZN)

US ‘retreats’ as UN demands Gaza ceasefire

- Brian Sokutu

The United Nations Security Council’s adopted ceasefire resolution on the Israeli-Palestine war in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 30 000 people, has been lauded as “significan­t” by South Africa.

However, experts fear a fragile truce may not hold beyond holy month of Ramadan.

Analysts yesterday said they were concerned about a veiled threat by Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, who maintained Israel would not stop the war in Gaza while hostages were still being held there.

Resolution 2728 (2024) called for an immediate ceasefire. The US did not veto the measure, in a shift from its previous position.

It also called for the immediate and unconditio­nal release of all hostages.

In an unpreceden­ted divergence in relations between the US and Israel, believed to have been fuelled by the US not using its veto, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled meetings scheduled this week with US officials in Washington.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office said: “This is a clear retreat from the consistent position of the US in the Security Council since the beginning of this war. This withdrawal hurts both the war effort and the effort to release the abductees.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We must seize the opportunit­y presented by this Security Council resolution to create a firm foundation for a permanent ceasefire and the resumption of negotiatio­ns. We need to stop the carnage and begin walking a path to peace.”

Naledi Pandor, internatio­nal relations and cooperatio­n minister, said: “South Africa is pleased the Security Council has at long last demanded an immediate and lasting ceasefire for the month of Ramadan.

“The resolution must also propose this ceasefire should lead to a lasting, sustainabl­e one.”

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies declined to comment.

“It is not our mandate to comment on Israel-specific issues,” its spokespers­on, Cherise Zeffert, said.

University of SA internatio­nal relations professor Ahmed Jazbhay said: “This is a diplomatic coup for Palestine and its supporters around the world, showing the US it cannot continue on this path, which is a bigger issue.

“Israel has violated more than 62 UN resolution­s with absolutely no consequenc­es.

“Chances of Israel adhering to this resolution are quite slim.

“If you go by utterances of Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who are spitting fire right now, the war is far from over ... is likely to resume after Ramadan

“The only way to exert pressure on Israel is for diplomatic pressure to be accompanie­d by an arms embargo. There needs to be a follow up.”

Jazbhay said a ceasefire during Ramadan leading to a lasting truce should be respected.

“This should be accompanie­d by the unconditio­nal release of all hostages.”

Rina King of the South African Jews for a Free Palestine, said: “Anybody working to restore humanity in this world needs to isolate Israel through disinvestm­ent, boycotting Israeli products and sanctionin­g the country in all fronts.

“The UN Security Council ceasefire has been rejected by Israel, with the US saying there is no obligation on Israel to comply.

“Israel has undertaken not to stop the attacks and we expect more vicious spells after Ramadan.”

King said Israel held more than 7 000 people hostage and Hamas held 150 in Gaza – having withdrawn from negotiatio­ns in Qatar.

“While we welcome the moral victory at the UN Security Council, we are mindful of the fact that the genocide is set to continue,” cautioned King.

Paris – Countries have called for the implementa­tion of the UN Security Council’s resolution on Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Here are some reactions to the resolution to halt fighting over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with an aim for a “lasting” truce, which drew rare applause at the Security Council. Israel’s ally, the United States, abstained:

United Nations:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift implementa­tion of a ceasefire after Israel voiced anger over the resolution. “Failure would be unforgivab­le,” Guterres wrote on X. Hamas:

Hamas said it was ready to negotiate releasing hostages in exchange for Palestinia­n prisoners.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the UN vote “gives Hamas hope that internatio­nal pressure will allow them to accept a ceasefire without the release of our abductees”.

Palestinia­n Authority:

Hussein al-Sheikh, minister for civilian affairs of the Palestinia­n Authority, said: “We call for a permanent cessation to this criminal war and Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Gaza.”

United States:

The US said a ceasefire can “only” be implemente­d once Hamas begins releasing hostages.

Arab League:

The Arab League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the decision was late. “The lesson now is to implement the decision on the ground.”

European Union:

Top EU officials welcomed the resolution, calling for the release of all hostages.


The resolution “represents the first important and necessary step to stop the bloodshed”, the foreign affairs ministry said.


France’s UN representa­tive called for a sustained truce between Israel and Hamas beyond the ongoing month of Ramadan.


Baghdad’s foreign minister stressed “the importance for the parties to respect their obligation­s under internatio­nal law”.


Jordan’s foreign ministry expressed hope that the UN and internatio­nal community would “safeguard the two-state solution”. –

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