Listen to Today's Edition
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in the fighting, unhindered humanitarian assistance to civilians, and the release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, in what was its first unified statement on the war in Gaza since it broke out more than a month ago, the Washington Post reported.
Twelve member states voted in favor of the resolution, while Russia, the US and the United Kingdom abstained: The US and the UK criticized the resolution for failing to condemn the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas and its affiliated groups that killed more than 1,200 people and left 240 more as hostages. Russia, meanwhile, wanted the resolution, drafted by Malta, to call for a ceasefire, the Associated Press added.
Four previous efforts to pass a resolution on the war had failed.
The resolution comes as a growing number of world leaders worry about civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. More than 11,000 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and more than 30,000 have been injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which says that because of a lack of power and fighting near the hospitals, it is no longer able to provide accurate death tolls, but believes the true number of casualties to be far higher.
Meanwhile, the resolution comes as the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) began its search of al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in the enclave, seeking evidence that Hamas was using it as a command center, as the IDF has claimed for weeks, the BBC reported. That search continued Thursday.
Israeli officials released photographs and video Wednesday that they said showed small caches of rifles and laptops belonging to Hamas. Hamas is designated as a terror group by the US and the European Union.
The hospital has been struggling with power and supplies such as food, water and medicine for weeks, hospital officials said. Meanwhile, doctors and other health personnel at the hospital have denied that it is being used by Hamas or for military purposes. They have also refused to evacuate as advised by Israel because of patients who are unable to be moved.
Also on Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Hamas has agreed to a deal– still being considered by Israel – to release at least 50 women and children being held by Hamas.
In exchange for the hostages, Israel would agree to a multi-day pause “in place” in the fighting, increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, and would also release an unspecified number of women and children held in Israeli prisons.
The deal is being negotiated by Qatari, Egyptian and American officials.
An earlier deal that would have seen the release of 50 hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire was derailed last month after Israel sent ground troops into Gaza.