UN Security Council backs plan for Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council on Monday adopted a US-drafted resolution backing a proposal outlined by President Joe Biden for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Russia abstained from the vote, while the remaining 14 council members voted in favor. The US had finalized its text on Sunday after six days of negotiations among the council.

Biden laid out a three-phase ceasefire plan on May 31 that he described as an Israeli initiative. Some Security Council members questioned whether Israel had accepted the plan to end the fighting in Gaza.

The resolution welcomes the new ceasefire proposal, “which Israel accepted, calls upon Hamas to also accept it, and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

“We’re waiting on Hamas to agree to the ceasefire deal it claims to want,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council before the vote. “With every passing day, needless suffering continues.”

The resolution also goes into detail about the proposal, and spells out that “if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.”

The council in March demanded for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.

For months, negotiators from the US, Egypt and Qatar have been trying to mediate a ceasefire.

Hamas says it wants a permanent end to the war in the Gaza Strip and Israeli withdrawal from the enclave of 2.3 million people.

The resolution said the US, Qatar and Egypt would “work to ensure negotiations keep going until all the agreements are reached and phase two is able to begin”.

Palestinian support made it much harder diplomatically for Russia or China to veto it.

The text stated that Israel had already accepted the ceasefire terms, though that claim is increasingly in question, as the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made a string of sceptical comments on it.

The resignation over the weekend of a centrist minister, Benny Gantz, has left Netanyahu even more dependent on far-right members of his coalition, who adamantly oppose the deal.

Hamas has yet to give a formal response to the ceasefire proposal. The unusual show of relative unity by a deeply divided security council, helps put pressure on both parties to strike an agreement, though both have shown themselves far more influenced by local constituencies and the personal interests of leaders, than by international public opinion.

Prospects for a hostage and ceasefire deal were significantly complicated by an Israeli raid in Gaza on Saturday to rescue four hostages, which killed 274 Palestinians.