UN Security Council backs resolution supporting Biden's Gaza ceasefire plan

First Security Council resolution on a permanent ceasefire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war

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The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a US-drafted resolution endorsing President Joe Biden’s ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip.

The measure won 14 votes in favour, with Russia abstaining. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East to promote the proposal.

The vote marked the first time the world body has backed a comprehensive peace agreement aimed at ending the Gaza conflict.

Israel has already accepted the ceasefire terms, according to the document's text.

The proposal urged Hamas and Israel to fully implement the ceasefire's terms “without delay and without condition”, and calls on the Palestinian militant group to accept it.

“We're all waiting and waiting on Hamas to agree to the ceasefire deal it claims to want,” the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told council members before the vote.

"But we cannot afford to wait and wait and wait.

“Israel accepted this deal because it ensures its security. As President Biden made clear, Hamas is no longer capable of carrying out another October 7, and the United States' commitment to Israel's self defence is ironclad."

Ms Thomas-Greenfield said that after consultations with all council members, support for the resolution clearly indicates that the “world wants an immediate ceasefire with the release of hostages".

The text also underscored “the importance of the continuing diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United States aimed at reaching a comprehensive ceasefire deal, consisting of three phases".

While the US text is "not perfect", said Algeria's ambassador to the UN, Amar Bendjama, "it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians as the alternative is 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," Mr Bendjama said.

Whether Israel and Hamas will agree to implement the ceasefire plan remains in question.

"From the very beginning of escalation in Gaza, the Council has adopted three resolutions, which have remained on paper in terms of implementation," Russia's UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said.

"Here, we can add a fourth This is not something we could call a positive trend," he noted.

The proposal comes in three phases that firstly would comprise “a full and complete ceasefire,” the withdrawal of Israeli forces from “all populated areas of Gaza,” and the release of “a number of hostages – including women, the elderly and the wounded – in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners".

The initial phase is expected to last six weeks, during which Israel and Hamas would “negotiate the necessary arrangements” to move to the second phase, which would centre on the “release of all remaining living hostages” in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

The final phase would include a “major reconstruction plan for Gaza” and the return of “any final remains of hostages who have been killed” to their families.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Mr Biden presented only parts of the proposal and that any discussion of a permanent ceasefire before dismantling Hamas’s military and governing ability is unacceptable.

Hamas welcomed the adoption of the resolution that “affirmed the permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” the militant group said in a statement.

The group 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 political coordinator, Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, pointed out that Israel will not allow Hamas to rearm, regroup, or remain in power.

“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," she said.

Israel’s military assault has killed more than 37,100 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

It has also destroyed about 80 per cent of Gaza’s buildings, according to the UN.

The assault was in response to the October 7, Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and abducted 240.

This was the 11th Security Council vote on a draft resolution concerning the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The resolution rejected any attempt to change Gaza’s territory or demography, including any actions that reduce the territory of Gaza.

It repeats the Security Council’s “unwavering commitment to achieving the vision of a negotiated two-state solution where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders".

Updated: June 11, 2024, 9:31 AM