UN Security Council adopts US-proposed plan for ceasefire in Gaza

UN Security Council adopts US-proposed plan for ceasefire in Gaza Photo: UN

The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution aimed at reaching a comprehensive ceasefire deal in three phases to end the war in Gaza, with US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield telling members "today, we voted for peace."

The United States-drafted text calls for Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal announced on 31 May by President Joe Biden that has already been accepted by Israel.

Adopted by a large majority with 14 votes in favour and Russia abstaining - choosing not to exercise its veto power - the resolution also urges both parties to fully implement the terms of the proposal “without delay and without condition.”

Russia's Permanent Representative told the Council after the vote there was a lack of clarity over what exactly Israel had signed up to in the resolution, leaving too many questions unanswered for Moscow to offer its support.

'Durable end' to the war in sight

President Biden described the deal as “not just a ceasefire that would inevitably be fragile and temporary" but one that would provide a "durable end to the war”.

He added that the terms of the deal had been transmitted by Qatar to the leadership of Hamas.

Signaling a hopeful shift in diplomacy, the US-led initiative brought both Israel and the Palestinian mission on board, avoiding the vetoes from permanent members – including the US itself – which have stalled action on several of the resolutions which have failed to pass since the 7 October terror attacks and kidnappings began the cycle of violence.

Three-phase approach

The motion envisages a three phase approach to ensure a lasting and comprehensive end to the fighting.

Phase one includes an “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners”.

It calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from “populated areas” of Gaza, the return of Palestinians to their homes and neighbourhoods throughout the enclave, including in the north, as well as the safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance at scale. 

Permanent end to hostilities

Phase two would see a permanent end to hostilities “in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza”.

In phase three, “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza” would begin and the remains of any deceased hostages still in the Strip would be returned to Israel.  

The Council also underlined the proposal’s provision that if negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will continue as long as negotiations continue.

No territorial change

In the resolution, the Security Council rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip, including any actions that reduce the territory of the enclave. 

The text also reiterates the Council’s “unwavering commitment” to the vision of the two-State solution where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions.

“In this regard stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” the resolution added.-UN News