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UN Security Council votes in favour of Gaza ceasefire resolution

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of a US-proposed resolution in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

The binding resolution lays out plans for a ceasefire that urges Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Fourteen out of the Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution, while Russia abstained.

Reacting to the resolution, Hamas said it is ready to cooperate with mediators over implementing the principles of the plan after it agreed to a deal for a ceasefire and hostage-for-prisoners swap in May.

But questions remain over whether Israel will implement the resolution after it rejected an earlier proposal, while the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said on Thursday that Tel-Aviv opposed the Security Council resolution being advanced by Washington.

The terms of the resolution lay out a three-phase ceasefire, beginning with an initial six-week ceasefire with the release of captives in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza and the return of Palestinian civilians to all areas in the territory. Phase one also requires the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “at scale throughout the Gaza Strip”, which US President Joe Biden said would lead to 600 trucks loaded with aid entering Gaza every day.

In phase two, the draft resolution outlines “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.”

Phase three would then launch “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza to their families.”

The plan comes after the Security Council voted for an “immediate ceasefire” in March to end Israel’s eight month war in Gaza that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, including more than 15,000 children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN security council members: “This deal would bring hostages home, ensure Israel’s security, and enable a surge of humanitarian relief and essential services including water and electricity, medical facilities and rubble removal to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and set the stage for a political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Ms Thomas-Greenfield also addressed Israel’s concerns over a “buffer zone” in Gaza, noting that the “resolution rejects any demographic or territorial changes in Gaza,” but re-affirmed US support for a two-state solution.

It comes after Egypt and Qatar said they are working to ensure Hamas engages with ceasefire discussions after the group, along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), spoke to ceasefire negotiators from the two countries earlier on Monday.

In statement, Hamas said: “The movement would like to emphasize its readiness to cooperate with the mediators to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles that are in line with the demands of our people and our resistance.

“We also affirm the continuation of our endeavour and struggle… to achieve their national rights, foremost of which is defeating the occupation and establishing an independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return and self-determination.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is undertaking his eighth visit to the Middle East since 7 October, arriving in Tel-Aviv to update Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the “ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period,” a State Department spokesperson said on Monday.

Mr Blinken “reiterated that the proposal on the table would unlock the possibility of calm along Israel’s northern border and further integration with countries in the region,” the spokesperson added.

Iran-allied Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging in tit-for-tat attacks across the Israeli-Lebanese border since the onset of the Gaza war.

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