The United Nations Security Council yesterday demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants, Hamas, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages after the United States abstained from the vote.

The remaining 14 council members voted for the resolution, which was proposed by the 10 elected members of the body.

“The Palestinian people have suffered greatly. This bloodbath has continued for far too long. It is our obligation to put an end to this bloodbath, before it is too late,” Algeria’s UN Ambassador, Amar Bendjama, told the council after the vote.

Israeli army radio reported shortly before the council meeting started that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would cancel a planned delegation to Washington if the US did not veto the resolution.

Washington had been averse to the word ceasefire earlier in the nearly six-month-old war in the Gaza Strip and had used its veto power to shield US ally Israel as it retaliated against Hamas for an October 7 attack that Israel says killed 1,200 people.

“The United States support for these objectives is not simply rhetorical. We are working around the clock to make them real on the ground through diplomacy, because we know it is only through diplomacy that we can push this agenda forward,” said US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

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“A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage and so we must put pressure on Hamas to do just that,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield said the US abstained from the vote because it did not agree with everything in the resolution and the text did not include a condemnation of Hamas.

On Thursday, the US tabled its own draft, which, for the first time, called for a ceasefire, marking a hardening of its stance towards Israel. The US has become increasingly critical of Israel over the escalating death toll in Gaza, where more than 32,000 people, mainly women and children, have been killed by Israel’s bombardment, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The US has also pressed Israel to do more to get aid delivered to Gaza, where it says the entire population is suffering severe levels of acute food insecurity.

The security council resolution also “emphasises 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.”

The US has vetoed three draft council resolutions on the war in Gaza. It has also previously abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost aid to Gaza and called for extended pauses in fighting. Russia and China have also vetoed two US drafted resolutions on the conflict in October and on Friday.