UN Security Council Backs US Israel-Gaza Cessefire Plan

THE United Nations Security Council has voted to support a US resolution backing a ceasefire plan for the war in Gaza.

The proposal sets out conditions for a “full and complete ceasefire”, the release of hostages held by Hamas, the return of dead hostages’ remains and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.

Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members voted in favour of the US-drafted resolution. Russia abstained.

The resolution states that Israel has accepted the ceasefire proposal, and urges Hamas to agree to it too.

It means the Security Council joins a number of governments, as well as the G7 group of the world’s richest nations, in backing the three-part plan that was unveiled by President Joe Biden in a televised statement on 31 May. Mr Biden described it then as an Israeli ceasefire proposal.

The proposal submitted by Israel to the US and fellow mediators Qatar and Egypt – reportedly lengthier than the summary presented by Mr Biden – has not been made public and it is unclear whether it varies from what the president presented.

The proposal was agreed to by Israel’s three-man war cabinet and has not been divulged to the wider government. Some far-right ministers have already made clear they oppose it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not said directly whether he supports the plan as laid out by President Biden.

Just hours before the UN vote, Mr Blinken said his message to leaders in the region was: “If you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes.”

The group has previously said it supports parts of the plan, and it released a statement on Monday “welcoming” the Security Council resolution.

Hamas emphasised its demand for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as well as the exchange of prisoners.

The group said it is ready to cooperate with mediators and enter “indirect negotiations”.

Its political leadership in Doha has yet to formally respond to the proposal, according to US and Israeli officials.

The proposal would end with a major reconstruction plan for Gaza, which has been largely destroyed in the conflict.

The first phase concerns a hostage-prisoner swap as well as a short-term ceasefire.

The second phase includes a “permanent end to hostilities”, as well as a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, according to a text of the US draft resolution.

The third phase focuses on the enclave’s long-term outlook, and it would start a multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza.

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