Ceasefire in Gaza? UN Security Council votes for peace plan

Ceasefire in Gaza? UN Security Council votes for peace plan

Negotiations between Israel and the Gaza Strip are dragging on. The UN Security Council has now voted in favor of a US peace plan. But the final decision lies with the parties to the conflict.

The UN Security Council has voted in favor of a multi-stage plan for a ceasefire in the Gaza war presented by US President Joe Biden. A corresponding resolution was adopted by the most powerful body of the United Nations in New York. 14 member states approved the draft, while the veto-wielding Russia abstained.

With this decision, which is binding under international law, the body supported a specific plan for a ceasefire for the first time since the war began. The paper expresses its support for a plan presented by Biden that envisages an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip in three phases.

According to the US, only the Islamist Hamas has not yet agreed to the plan. However, there has not yet been a clear and public approval of the plan from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, the resolution, which is binding under international law, states that Israel has accepted the plan and calls on the Islamist Hamas to do the same, urging all parties involved to implement the plan “without delay and without conditions”.

Hamas welcomes ceasefire resolution

Hamas welcomed the Security Council resolution and reiterated its willingness to continue indirect negotiations for an agreement. However, the positive reaction did not appear to represent a formal acceptance of the proposed multi-stage plan. Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been trying for months as mediators to reach an agreement for a ceasefire in the Gaza war, the release of hostages and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad had previously reiterated at a meeting in Qatar on Monday that any agreement must include a complete end to the war, a comprehensive Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, reconstruction of the coastal strip and an end to the blockade.

The draft deal presented by Biden at the end of May initially provides for a complete and unrestricted ceasefire lasting six weeks. During this period, a specific group of hostages would be released. In return, Palestinians imprisoned in Israel would be released.

In the next phase, the fighting would cease permanently and the remaining hostages would be released. In a final phase, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip would begin, according to the draft. It was the eleventh time since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip that the UN Security Council voted on a resolution on the conflict. Only four proposed resolutions were adopted.

The European Union is calling for the immediate implementation of the plan, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell announced in the evening. The international community fully supports the comprehensive roadmap presented by Biden, the foreign policy chief reiterated.

Sticking to the vision of a two-state solution

In the resolution that has now been passed, the UN Security Council also stresses its commitment to the vision of a two-state solution in which Israel and the Palestinians can live peacefully side by side. To achieve this, it is important to reunite the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. However, Israel’s government is currently vehemently opposed to this.

Terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups from the Gaza Strip made a surprise incursion into southern Israel on October 7. They killed more than 1,200 people and took over 250 hostages. The massacre sparked the Gaza War. Since then, according to the health authority, more than 37,100 Palestinians have been killed and around 85,000 injured. These figures, which do not distinguish between fighters and civilians, cannot be independently verified.

Israel’s army is under strong international criticism for its actions in the Gaza Strip and the high number of civilian casualties. According to aid organizations, the humanitarian situation for the more than two million people in the Gaza Strip is devastating.

Blinken increases pressure on Hamas

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is increasing pressure on the Islamist Hamas in his diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire. On his eighth visit to the Middle East since the war began eight months ago, Blinken met Netanyahu in Jerusalem. At the meeting, Blinken made it clear that the US and leading politicians around the world support the ceasefire plan presented by Biden, the US State Department said.

Blinken had previously said in Egypt that only the Islamist Hamas had not agreed to the plan presented by Biden. “The only party that did not say yes is Hamas,” he said in Cairo. “Countries in the region and around the world” would support the plan. “The only outsider at the moment is Hamas.”

Today, Blinken will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. During his Middle East trip, Blinken will visit Egypt and Israel, as well as Jordan and Qatar. In Jordan, he will attend a conference aimed at achieving more humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip.

Israeli offensive in Gaza Strip continues

After freeing four hostages from a refugee quarter in the central part of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army is continuing its operations in the area. Israeli troops are active in Deir al-Balah and Al-Bureij, among other places, the military said. They are taking action against terror infrastructure above and below ground, as well as against rocket launch pads.

Several underground tunnels were destroyed. In Al-Bureij, soldiers killed several terrorists, including a member of Hamas’ Nukhba troops who took part in the massacre on October 7. The information could not be independently verified. Images from Deir al-Balah showed weeping Palestinians in a hospital mourning their relatives killed in Israeli air strikes.

Heavy fighting between Israel and Hezbollah

Five people were killed and others injured in a suspected Israeli attack on a truck convoy in Syria, activists said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the trucks were hit on their way to Lebanon, in an area controlled by the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

A Lebanese security source said at least nine Israeli missiles had hit the area. According to eyewitnesses, Syrian air defense missiles were fired to repel the Israeli attack on the border area between Syria and Lebanon. The information could not be independently verified at first. There was no initial comment from the Israeli side.

Israel’s air force is repeatedly bombing targets in neighboring Syria. The Jewish state wants to prevent its arch-enemy Iran and its allied militias from expanding their military influence in the country. Iran is one of Syria’s most important allies. Since the start of the Gaza war in early October, Israeli attacks, which are usually not officially confirmed by Israel, have increased.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting between Israel and Hezbollah continued in the Israeli-Lebanese border region. The Israeli army announced that one of its drones had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Lebanese airspace. It had landed on Lebanese territory. Two missiles from Lebanon had previously been intercepted in northern Israel.

Source: Stern

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