UNSC endorses US-backed ceasefire plan to end Israel-Hamas war - GulfToday

UNSC endorses US-backed ceasefire plan to end Israel-Hamas war

An overall view as the Security Council holds a meeting on the situation in Gaza at UN headquarters in New York. AFP

The UN Security Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The US-sponsored resolution welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted. It calls on the Palestinian group Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — which was approved with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — calls on Israel and Hamas "to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to go forward with the plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the UN’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties to approve the proposal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel on Monday, where he urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the plan for postwar Gaza as he pushed for more international pressure on Hamas to agree to the cease-fire proposal. Netanyahu has been skeptical of the deal, saying that Israel is still committed to destroying Hamas.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas attends a press conference. File photo

Hamas said it welcomed the adoption of the resolution and was ready to work with mediators in indirect negotiations with Israel to implement it. The statement was among the strongest from Hamas to date, but it stressed the group would continue its struggle against Israeli occupation and work on setting up a "fully sovereign” Palestinian state.

A senior Israeli diplomat did not directly mention the resolution, telling the council Israel’s position is unwavering: "We will continue until all of the hostages are returned and until Hamas’ military and governing capabilities are dismantled.”

"This also means that Israel will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations, which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time,” Minister Counsellor Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly said.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield reiterated, however, that Israel has accepted the cease-fire deal, which is supported by countries around the world.

The resolution’s adoption, she said, "sent a clear message to Hamas to accept the cease-fire deal on the table.”

"The fighting could stop today, if Hamas would do the same,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council. "I repeat, this fighting could stop today.”

US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters earlier on Monday that the United States sees the deal as "the best, most realistic opportunity to bring at least a temporary halt to this war.”

Associated Press