US presents new UNSC resolution on Gaza ceasefire

A vote is expected to take place later on Monday for Gaza’s ceasefire plan [Getty/file photo]

The US presented on Sunday a second revised version of its draft resolution up for voting in the UN’s Security Council on a ceasefire plan for Gaza, according to reports.

The latest changes were made to reach a comprehensive ceasefire agreement “consisting of three stages”  in response to several requests made by several Security Council member states.

Among the most significant amendments Washington has made incudes the possible extension of a six-week-long ceasefire should negotiators require more time seeking a permanent end to Israel’s war and hostilities in Gaza.

The latest amendments also mention the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the remainder of Israeli captives – a notion previously omitted in the draft resolution.

Rights groups say that over 8,000 Palestinians are held across Israeli prisons, many of them held under administrative detention. Israeli forces have intensified their detention of Palestinians since the start of the war in Gaza, with scores apprehended daily in both the West Bank and the war-hit enclave.

The previous version only made mention of “the release of Israeli hostages and the return of remains of those dead”.

The draft resolution also called for the ‘withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza’, a demand often made by Hamas in previous negotiations which had always been rejected by Israel.

The latest draft also discusses the return of Palestinian civilians to their homes and neighbourhoods in all areas of Gaza, including the north, which was bombarded by Israel at the onset of the war.

“Today, the United States called for the Security Council to move towards a vote supporting the proposal on the table,” said Nate Evans, spokesman for the US delegation, without specifying a vote date.

“Council members should not let this opportunity pass by and must speak with one voice in support of this deal,” Evans said.

Another amendment includes the US urging Hamas to accept the new ceasefire proposal while urging “both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition”. This, however, implies Israel has accepted the proposal, despite strong opposition from members of Netanyahu’s far-right coalition government, many of whom feel that an end to the war in Gaza is “unacceptable”.

The war in Gaza has raged for over eight months, killing at least 37,124 Palestinians as of Monday. The military campaign has flattened much of the territory and triggered a widespread humanitarian crisis in the enclave, plagued by food insecurity, unhygienic conditions and the possibility of death at any given second.

Several attempts at agreeing to a ceasefire have been made, though to no avail. A week-long respite was experienced once in Gaza in November, which saw the exchange of Israeli captives and Palestinian prisoners.

Additionally, the latest changes to the draft stressed the importance of the “continuous diplomatic efforts made by Egypt, Qatar and the United States”.

Hamas leaders have insisted throughout the war they will only accept a ceasefire proposal should Israel remain committed to a permanent ceasefire, which chiefly entails the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the enclave and an end to the war.

A vote is expected later on Monday, following the US finalising the text on Sunday after six days of negotiations among the 15-member council. The solution requires nine votes and no vetoes to pass.

The US, Israel’s long-term ally, has previously vetoed draft resolutions calling for a ceasefire, much to the criticism of the Palestinian leadership.

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