UN Security Council backs US Gaza ceasefire resolution

The proposal sets out conditions for a “full and complete ceasefire”, the release of hostages held by Hamas, the return of dead hostages’ remains and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.

Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members voted in favour of the US-drafted resolution. Russia abstained.

The resolution states that Israel has accepted the ceasefire proposal, and urges Hamas to agree to it too.

UNSC

It means the Security Council joins a number of governments, as well as the G7 group of the world’s richest nations, in backing the three-part plan that was unveiled by President Joe Biden in a televised statement on 31 May. Mr Biden described it then as an Israeli ceasefire proposal.

The proposal submitted by Israel to the US and fellow mediators Qatar and Egypt – reportedly lengthier than the summary presented by Mr Biden – has not been made public and it is unclear whether it varies from what the president presented. The proposal was agreed to by Israel’s three-man war cabinet and has not been divulged to the wider government.

The resolution was approved shortly after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with foreign leaders, including Mr Netanyahu, in an attempt to build support for the ceasefire deal.

Just hours before the UN vote, Mr Blinken said his message to leaders in the region was: “If you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes.”

 

Hamas emphasised its demand for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as well as the exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

The group said it is ready to cooperate with mediators and enter “indirect negotiations”.

Its political leadership in Doha has yet to formally respond to the proposal, according to US and Israeli officials.

The proposal would end with a major reconstruction plan for Gaza, which has been largely destroyed in the conflict.

The first phase concerns a hostage-prisoner swap as well as a short-term ceasefire.

The second phase includes a “permanent end to hostilities”, as well as a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, according to a text of the US draft resolution.

The third phase focuses on the enclave’s long-term outlook, and it would start a multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza.

Despite voting in favour, China also expressed concerns over the text. Its UN ambassador questioned whether this time would be any different to the three previous Security Council resolutions on the conflict, which were not implemented despite being legally binding.

Source: BBC News

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