UN Security Council endorses US-sponsored Gaza ceasefire resolution

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a resolution endorsing a US-backed ceasefire proposal that aims to end Israel’s eight-month assault on Gaza. The vote on the United States-sponsored resolution on Monday was 14-0, with Russia abstaining. The resolution welcomes a three-phase ceasefire proposal announced by US President Joe Biden last month, which calls for an initial six-week ceasefire and the exchange of some Israeli captives held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The second phase would include a permanent ceasefire and the release of the remaining captives. The third phase would involve a reconstruction effort for the devastated Gaza Strip. The US says Israel has accepted the proposal, although some Israeli officials have since promised to continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza. The resolution calls on Hamas, which initially said it viewed the proposal “positively”, to accept the three-phase plan. It urges Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition”. Hamas was quick to welcome the resolution on Monday. In a statement after the vote, Hamas said it was ready to cooperate with mediators and enter indirect negotiations over the implementation of the principles of the agreement. US deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters earlier that the US wanted to make sure all 15 UNSC members were on board to support what he described as “the best, most realistic opportunity to bring at least a temporary halt to this war”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously said that Biden presented only parts of the proposal and insisted that any talk of a permanent ceasefire before dismantling Hamas’s military and governing capabilities was a non-starter. Hamas has frequently said that any deal must lead to a permanent ceasefire, a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza, reconstruction and “a serious exchange deal” between captives in Gaza and Palestinians held in Israeli jails.