11 Jun 2024, 09:27

UN Sec. Council votes for US-drafted Gaza ceasefire resolution

UNITED NATIONS, United States, June 11, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The United Nations
Security Council on Monday adopted a US-drafted resolution supporting a
ceasefire plan in Gaza, as Washington leads an intense diplomatic campaign to
push Hamas to accept the proposal.

The text -- passed with 14 votes in favor and Russia abstaining -- "welcomes"
the truce and hostage release proposal announced on May 31 by President Joe
Biden, and urges "parties to fully implement its terms without delay and
without condition."

The resolution says Israel has accepted the truce plan, and "calls upon Hamas
to also accept it."

Hamas said Monday that it "welcomes" the vote.

The United States, a staunch ally of Israel, has been widely criticized for
having blocked several previous UN draft resolutions calling for a ceasefire
in Gaza.

But Biden late last month launched a new US effort to secure a truce and
hostage release.

"Today we voted for peace," US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after
the UN session.

"Today this Council sent a clear message to Hamas: accept the ceasefire deal
on the table. Israel has already agreed to this deal and the fighting could
stop today if Hamas would do the same."

However the deal remains uncertain as Hamas officials have insisted that any
ceasefire agreement must guarantee a permanent end to the war -- a demand
Israel has firmly rejected, vowing to destroy Hamas and free the remaining

Under the proposal, Israel would withdraw from Gaza population centers and
Hamas would free the hostages. The ceasefire would last an initial six weeks,
with it extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to hostilities.

The "text is not perfect," said Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama. "But
it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians, as the alternative is
continued killing and suffering."

- Hamas silence -

After the vote, Israeli diplomat Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly emphasized that the
"war will end" only when Israeli "goals are met," including the release of
hostages and the destruction of Hamas.

"Hamas' refusal to release the hostages through diplomacy has proven that the
effort to bring our hostages home must also include military means," she

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, meanwhile
welcomed the council's vote, stating that the "burden" of implementing the
resolution and ceasefire "is on the Israeli side."

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas added that he considered "the adoption of
this resolution a step in the right direction to end the war of genocide
against our people in the Gaza Strip."

Since the unprecedented attack by Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on
October 7 against Israel, and the subsequent Israeli counterattack, the UN
Security Council has struggled to act.

Following two resolutions focused on humanitarian aid, the Security Council
finally at the end of March demanded an "immediate ceasefire" for the
duration of Ramadan, after the United States abstained from the vote.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas's attack on southern Israel, which resulted
in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally
based on Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,124 people in Gaza,
mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

The first phase of the truce would see an "immediate, full and complete
ceasefire," the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails, and the "withdrawal of Israeli forces from the populated areas
in Gaza."

This would also allow the "safe and effective distribution of humanitarian
assistance at scale throughout the Gaza Strip to all Palestinian civilians
who need it."

Russia's UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, countered that the council was
singing on to the plan without "details" and "giving a carte blanche."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks in Israel with Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the latest effort to halt the eight months of

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