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UN security council backs Israel-Hamas ceasefire plan, Hamas ready to discuss details

Israel continues operations, gives conditions for ceasefire

In a pivotal move aimed at halting the violence in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations Security Council has endorsed a comprehensive ceasefire proposal drafted by President Joe Biden. This plan, which seeks to end the eight-month-long war between Israel and Hamas, was met with cautious optimism by the involved parties and various international actors.

Ceasefire Resolution and Security Council Vote

On Monday, the UN Security Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of the United States-drafted resolution, with 14 members supporting the plan and Russia abstaining.

The resolution outlines a three-phase ceasefire proposal and calls on both Israel and Hamas to implement its terms without delay.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield heralded the vote as a step towards peace, stating, “Today we voted for peace.”

The resolution stipulates that even if negotiations extend beyond the initial six-week phase, the ceasefire should remain in place as long as discussions continue.

Also read: Israel-Hamas Conflict Could Lead to Soaring Fuel Prices, Warns World Bank

Algeria, the council’s sole Arab member, supported the resolution. Algerian UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama remarked, “It offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians. It’s time to halt the killing.”

Hamas’ Response and Demands

Hamas has indicated its readiness to comply with the ceasefire resolution. Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri confirmed that the group is prepared to negotiate the details, emphasising the importance of the US ensuring Israeli adherence to the agreement.

Abu Zuhri stated, “The US administration is facing a real test to carry out its commitments in compelling the occupation to immediately end the war.”

Hamas accepts the resolution’s key components, including the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a swap of hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners detained in Israel. This stance marks a significant development in the long-standing conflict, potentially paving the way for more stable negotiations.

Israel’s Position and Continued Operations

While Israel has expressed conditional acceptance of the ceasefire, its officials maintain a firm stance on their objectives.

Senior Israeli UN diplomat Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly reiterated Israel’s goals: to free all hostages, dismantle Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, and ensure Gaza does not pose a future threat to Israel.

Ben Naftaly asserted, “It is Hamas that is preventing this war from ending. Hamas and Hamas alone.”

Despite the ceasefire proposal, Israeli forces continued operations in Gaza, with recent assaults focusing on central and southern regions. The ongoing military actions have been among the most intense in the conflict, underscoring the challenges of achieving a sustained ceasefire.

Background of the Conflict

The conflict, which began on October 7, was triggered by a large-scale attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel. This assault resulted in over 1,200 Israeli deaths and the abduction of more than 250 hostages.

In response, Israel launched a comprehensive air, ground, and sea offensive against Gaza, leading to significant casualties and destruction. According to Gaza health authorities, over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed during the conflict.

Efforts to broker a ceasefire have been ongoing, with the US, Egypt, and Qatar playing key roles in mediation. President Biden’s proposal, now endorsed by the UN Security Council, envisions a structured process involving the ceasefire, release of hostages, and exchange of prisoners, ultimately leading to a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Diplomatic Efforts and Future Plans

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to support the ceasefire plan. During his visit to Israel, Blinken emphasised the importance of detailed planning for Gaza’s future, covering aspects of security, governance, and reconstruction. He described Hamas’ acceptance of the ceasefire as “a hopeful sign” but noted the need for concrete commitments from Hamas leaders within Gaza.

Blinken’s discussions with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, focused on advancing Biden’s truce proposal and addressing the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Additionally, Blinken aimed to mitigate the risk of the conflict expanding to involve Hezbollah in Lebanon, highlighting the broader regional implications of the Gaza war.

Public and International Reactions

The response to the UN Security Council’s resolution has been mixed among Gaza’s residents, who have endured immense hardship throughout the conflict. Displaced families and civilians, living in dire conditions, expressed skepticism about the ceasefire’s potential impact. Shaban Abdel-Raouf, a displaced Palestinian, captured this sentiment, saying, “We will believe it only when we see it.”

Internationally, the US has faced scrutiny for its support of Israel amidst the high civilian death toll and widespread destruction in Gaza. The war has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation, with severe shortages of food, medical supplies, and essential services.

The UN Security Council’s endorsement of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire plan represents a significant diplomatic achievement, offering a potential pathway to peace in the embattled region.

While the resolution’s success hinges on the commitment of both parties to engage in meaningful negotiations, it provides a crucial framework for ending the hostilities and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The international community remains hopeful yet vigilant, recognising that the road to lasting peace will require sustained effort and cooperation.

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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