UN Security Council Adopts US-Drafted Plan to End Israel-Hamas War in Gaza

Amid escalating tensions in West Asia, where the Israel-Hamas conflict has now entered its eighth month, the United Nations Security Council has taken a significant step towards peace. On Monday (local time), the Council voted to pass a US-drafted resolution aimed at establishing a permanent ceasefire and ensuring the release of hostages in Gaza. This move has been widely viewed as a pivotal moment in the ongoing crisis.

The newly adopted resolution, which was presented by the United States, received overwhelming support with 14 votes in favor, zero against, and a single abstention by Russia, which chose not to exercise its veto power. The US proposal includes a comprehensive plan for achieving a lasting peace agreement in a phased manner, according to UN News.

The resolution’s first phase calls for an “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire,” alongside the release of hostages, which includes women, the elderly, and the wounded. It also stipulates the return of the remains of hostages who have been killed and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners. Additionally, it demands the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Gaza’s populated areas, allowing Palestinians to return to their homes and communities throughout the territory, including the northern regions. Furthermore, humanitarian aid is expected to be distributed widely and safely.

Phase two of the plan aims to ensure a permanent cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of all remaining hostages in Gaza and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the enclave. According to UN News, this phase would serve as a critical step towards long-term stability and the end of the fighting.

The third phase envisions a “major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza.” In this phase, the remains of any deceased hostages still in the Strip are anticipated to be returned to Israel. This extensive reconstruction plan aims to rebuild infrastructure and restore normalcy in Gaza, which has suffered extensive damage during the prolonged conflict.

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President Joe Biden described this deal as more than just a temporary ceasefire, emphasizing that it would be a “durable end to the war.” Biden highlighted that the terms of the deal were communicated to Hamas leadership through Qatar, and he expressed optimism that this could mark the beginning of a new chapter for the region.

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, strongly advocated for the resolution’s adoption. She stated that the fighting could stop immediately if Hamas agreed to the terms now endorsed by the Security Council. Thomas-Greenfield underscored the unity of the international community behind this deal, which she believes will save lives and aid Palestinian civilians in Gaza, allowing them to start rebuilding and healing. She also highlighted the importance of reuniting hostages with their families after eight months in captivity.

Moreover, Thomas-Greenfield stressed that the US is committed to ensuring Israel fulfills its responsibilities under the deal, contingent upon Hamas’ acceptance of the terms. She noted that the current resolution does not permit any demographic or territorial changes within the Gaza Strip, reiterating the Council’s steadfast commitment to the two-state solution. In this context, she emphasized the need to unify the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority’s governance.

The Gaza conflict saw a significant escalation following the events of October 7, when about 2,500 Hamas terrorists breached the border into Israel from Gaza, resulting in numerous casualties and the seizure of hostages. Since then, Israel has characterized its military operations in Gaza as efforts to dismantle Hamas’ infrastructure and neutralize the group, which it labels as a terrorist organization. While Israel has aimed to target Hamas specifically, it has also faced challenges in minimizing civilian casualties during its offensive.

As the world watches closely, the adoption of this UN resolution represents a critical juncture in efforts to end a conflict that has brought immense suffering to both Israelis and Palestinians. While much hinges on the acceptance of these terms by Hamas, the international community remains hopeful that this comprehensive ceasefire plan will pave the way for lasting peace and stability in the region.

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