UN Security Council backs plan for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

UN Security Council backs plan for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

By abc.net.au
Tuesday 11/06/2024
Aftermath of Israeli strikes in Nuseirat refugee camp after hostages were rescued. (Reuters: Abed Khaled)

The UN Security Council has backed plans for an Israel-Gaza ceasefire.

On Monday, local time, the council adopted a US drafted resolution, backing a proposal outlined by President Joe Biden for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas.

Russia abstained from the vote, while the remaining 14 council members voted in favour.

The US had finalised its text on Sunday after six days of negotiations among the council.

On May 31, Mr Biden laid out a three-phase ceasefire plan that he described as an Israeli initiative.

Some council members questioned whether Israel had accepted the plan to end the fighting in Gaza.

Hamas has welcomed the resolution, saying it is ready to cooperate with mediators over implementing the principles of the plan.

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

"Today we voted for peace," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council after the vote.

Algeria, the only Arab member of the council, supported the resolution because "we believe it can represent a step forward toward an immediate and lasting ceasefire," Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama told the council.

"It offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians," he said. "It's time to halt the killing."

In a statement, militant group Hamas said: "Hamas welcomes what is included in the Security Council resolution that affirmed the permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the complete withdrawal, the prisoners' exchange, the reconstruction, the return of the displaced to their areas of residence, the rejection of any demographic change or reduction in the area of the Gaza Strip, and the delivery of needed aid to our people in the Strip."

Hamas also said it was willing to engage in indirect negotiations over implementing the principles "that are consistent with the demands of our people and resistance."

Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan was present for the vote, but did not address the council. Instead, senior Israeli UN diplomat Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly told the body that Israel's goals in Gaza had always been clear.

"Israel is committed to these goals — to free all the hostages, to destroy Hamas' military and governing capabilities and to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future," she said.

"It is Hamas that is preventing this war from ending. Hamas and Hamas alone."

The council in March demanded 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 an Israeli withdrawal from the enclave of 2.3 million people.

Israel says it is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over an attack by its militants.

More than 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, according to Israeli tallies.

More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Israel launched an air, ground and sea assault on the Palestinian territory, killing more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

By Reuters

Original article link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-11/un-security-council-backs-plan-for-israel-gaza-ceasefire/103962102

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