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UN Security Council endorses U.S.-backed resolution for Gaza ceasefire | CBC News



The United Nations Security Council on Monday approved its first resolution endorsing a ceasefire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The U.S.-sponsored resolution welcomes a ceasefire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted. It calls on the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which initially said it viewed the proposal “positively,” to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — which was approved overwhelmingly with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favour and Russia abstaining — also calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Hamas responded to the adoption by saying it welcomed the resolution and was ready to work with mediators in indirect negotiations with Israel to implement it.

The statement was among the strongest from Hamas to date but stressed the group would continue “our struggle” to end the Israeli occupation and work on setting up a “fully sovereign” Palestinian state.

‘Fighting could stop today’

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan was present for the vote, but did not address the council. Instead, senior Israeli UN diplomat Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly told the body that Israel’s goals in Gaza had always been clear.

“Israel is committed to these goals — to free all the hostages, to destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future,” she said. “It is Hamas that is preventing this war from ending. Hamas and Hamas alone.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said after the vote that the council “sent a clear message to Hamas to accept the ceasefire deal on the table,” reiterating that Israel has accepted the deal, which is supported by countries around the world.

“The fighting could stop today, if Hamas would do the same,” she told the council. “I repeat, this fighting could stop today.”

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters earlier on Monday that the U.S. wanted all 15 Security Council members to support what he described as “the best, most realistic opportunity to bring at least a temporary halt to this war.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to the three-phase ceasefire plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the UN’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties to approve the proposal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has 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 is a non-starter.

WATCH | Hundreds of Palestinians killed in Israeli hostage rescue operation:

Hundreds of Palestinians killed in Israeli hostage rescue operation

Health officials in Gaza say at least 274 people have been killed in an Israeli hostage rescue operation in central Gaza. Israel says it safely extracted four hostages, but the high civilian death toll has prompted international condemnation and Israeli minister Benny Gantz’s resignation.

The leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who met in Qatar on Monday to discuss the proposed ceasefire deal, said in a statement afterward that any agreement 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 hostages in Gaza and Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The war was sparked on Oct. 7 by a surprise Hamas-led militant attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw about 250 others taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 120 hostages remain, with 43 pronounced dead.

Israel’s military offensive has killed more than 36,700 Palestinians and wounded in excess of 83,000 others, according to Gaza’s health ministry. It has also destroyed about 80 per cent of Gaza’s buildings, according to the UN.

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