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UN Sec. Council to vote Monday on US Gaza ceasefire resolution

UN Security Council for first time demands 'immediate' Gaza ceasefire, US abstains
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The United Nations Security Council will vote Monday afternoon on a US-drafted resolution that backs Washington’s Gaza ceasefire plan and calls on Hamas to accept it, the council presidency said.

The text, seen by AFP, “welcomes” the truce and hostage release proposal announced on May 31 by President Joe Biden, and “urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Unlike earlier drafts, the resolution states that Israel has “accepted” the US ceasefire proposal.

“This proposal is the best opportunity we have right now to bring at least a temporary halt to this fighting, to be able to get more assistance in, get hostages released,” deputy US ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said.

“We want to put pressure to Hamas to accept this deal, so far it hasn’t accepted this deal, that’s why we to have this resolution, because we’re on a cusp of doing something really really important.”

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

But Biden late last month launched a new US push for a truce and hostage release.

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

Since the unprecedented attack by 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 37,084 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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 captives.

A first phase 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,” according to the draft text seen by AFP.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel on Monday to promote the plan as Israeli bombardment again rocked the Palestinian territory.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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