UN Security Council backs three-phased Israel-Hamas ceasefire plan

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The United Nations Security Council has adopted a draft resolution that endorses a three-phased ceasefire proposal between Israel and Hamas.

The Council vote on the US-authored draft was 14 in favour with a single abstention from Russia. The successful effort in New York seeks to complement efforts in the region, including an ongoing visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to secure agreement on the proposal from both parties.

The resolution welcomes the new ceasefire proposal which states that Israel has already accepted it and calls upon Hamas in particular to do the same.

The text further urges both parties to fully implement the terms without delay and without conditions.

United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the UN says, “We need Hamas to agree to the ceasefire deal. And then we need Israel and Hamas to implement the deal without delays or conditions. I don’t want to keep waking up to news reports of more fighting and more loss of life. I don’t want the families of hostages, many of whom I know personally, to ensure even one more day, to endure even one more day without their loved ones. I don’t want another Palestinian family, including the relatives of people I have met with, to experience any more loss or suffering. I want to see an enduring ceasefire where Israel is safe. Safe from the threat of further terrorist attacks and rocket fire, and Palestinians can begin rebuilding their lives in safety and security.”

Three-phased plan

The three-phased plan first calls for a 6-week ceasefire which would see Israeli forces withdraw from densely populated areas in Gaza and see the release of some hostages while humanitarian aid would surge to 600 trucks per day.

Phase 2, which would have to be agreed upon by both parties during Phase 1, would see the release of all remaining living hostages while Israeli forces completely withdraw from Gaza leading to a permanent ceasefire.

Phase 3 calls for the reconstruction of Gaza after a war that has destroyed much of the enclave.

Algeria’s Envoy Ambassador Amar Bendjama, representing the Arab group, welcomes the adoption.

“We voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by the United States because we believe it can represent a step toward an immediate and lasting ceasefire. Like any other product of the Security Council, this text is not perfect, but it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians, as the alternative is the continued killing and suffering of the Palestinian people. We voted for this text to give diplomacy a chance to reach an agreement that will end the aggression against the Palestinian people that has lasted for far too long. It’s time to halt the killing.”

Vote against

Russia was the only country not to vote in favour of the draft – producing the only abstention as Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya explains, “We are convinced that the Security Council should not sign up to agreements with vague parameters and without guarantees not only of their implementation on the ground but without the slightest clear understanding how the parties themselves or what their attitude is towards it. Essentially, the Council is giving a carte blanch and signing us to this plan with details that they don’t have. The three parameters of and phases, that’s not details. From the very beginning of the escalation in Gaza, the Council has adopted three resolutions which have remained on paper in terms of implementation, here we can add a fourth. This is not something we could call a positive trend.”

Hamas quickly welcomes the adoption of the draft resolution backing the ceasefire and indicated in a statement that it was ready to cooperate with mediators over implementing the principles therein. That augurs well for a pause in fighting that could lead to something more permanent in the weeks and months ahead.