What is the US plan for a ceasefire in Gaza that got the support of the UN?

What is the US plan for a ceasefire in Gaza that got the support of the UN?
What is the US plan for a ceasefire in Gaza that got the support of the UN?

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TEL AVIV.- The Secretary of State of the United States, Anthony Blinkencontinues his tour of the Middle East this Tuesday to defend a ceasefire plan in Gaza, which received the support of the UN Security Council this late Monday.

Blinken said Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council vote in favor of a U.S.-backed proposal for a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza makes “as clear as possible” that the world supports the plan, and again called on Hamas to accept it.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with family members and supporters of Israelis held hostage in Gaza by Palestinian militants who demonstrated in Tel Aviv during his visit on June 11, 2024.JACK GUEZ – POOL

“Everyone’s vote has arrived, except for one vote, that of Hamas.”Blinken said, referring to the fact that 14 of the 15 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution drafted by the United States; only Russia abstained.

Hamas welcomed Biden’s initial announcement of the plan and the UN resolution supporting it, but has not yet officially responded to the initiative. Blinken said Hamas’s response to the vote at the United Nations was ““a hopeful sign”but that mediators were still waiting for news from the group’s leaders in Gaza.

This photo released by the US embassy in Israel shows US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) posing for a photo with the president of the Israel National Unity Party, Benny Gantz, a former centrist Israeli army chief who left the war cabinet two days ago, during their meeting in Tel Aviv, June 11, 2024.DAVID AZAGURY – US EMBASSY IN ISRAEL

“That’s what counts. And that’s what we still don’t have. And that’s why I say we’re waiting to see it. “Everyone has said yes, except for Hamas,” he said.

Last night, in Israel, after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahuthe Secretary of State stressed that the Israeli Prime Minister “reiterated his commitment” with the ceasefire proposal.

Blinken also met this Tuesday in Israel with Benny GantzNetanyahu’s centrist rival who recently resigned from the war cabinet, and with opposition leader, Yair Lapid. The diplomat met privately with relatives of the hostages and with protesters gathered in front of a hotel to demand a ceasefire agreement.

The Joe Biden administration official then traveled to Jordan. On Monday he was in Cairo and was also scheduled to visit Qatar, which, along with Egypt, has been a key mediator with Hamas.

Blinken’s most recent visit to the region – his eighth since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war – focuses in gathering support for a ceasefire proposal, increasing the influx of humanitarian aid and promoting post-war plans for the governance of Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to media after meeting with family members and advocates of Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, during a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Jack Guez, pool image via AP)Jack Guez – Pool AFP

The proposal, announced last month by United States President Joe Biden, calls for a three-phase plan in which Hamas would release the rest of the hostages in exchange for a lasting ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The group is still holding about 120 hostages, a third of whom are believed to have died.

Although Biden presented it as an Israeli initiative, Netanyahu has publicly questioned some aspects of the plan and said that Israel will not end the war without destroying Hamas and recovering all the hostages.

For its part, the United Nations human rights office said that Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups could have committed war crimes during the deadly Israeli raid that freed four hostages over the weekend. At least 274 Palestinians died in the operationaccording to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Hamas welcomed the United Nations resolution and supports the general terms of the agreement, but has asked for guarantees that it will be implemented. The terrorist group, which rules Gaza, supported a similar proposal last month that was rejected by Israel.

“Efforts continue to study and clarify some issues to ensure implementation by the Israeli side,” Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said Tuesday. Israel “has not offered commitments or clear authorization for implementation that would lead to an end to the aggression,” he pointed.

A Palestinian woman in the middle of a destroyed classroom of a school run by the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) that was hit during an attack by the Israeli army the previous day, in the Nuseirat camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip, on June 7, 2024, in the midst of the current conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas.EYAD BABA – AFP

But the proposal has raised hopes of ending an eight-month war that has killed to more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, and driven 80% of its 2.3 million inhabitants from their homes. Israeli restrictions and continued fighting have complicated efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the isolated coastal enclave, fueling widespread hunger.

The war began when Hamas and other terrorist groups stormed Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 hostages. About 100 hostages were freed last year during a week-long ceasefire in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

When he announced the new plan on May 31, Biden said he would start with an initial six-week ceasefire and the release of some hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas and Palestinian civilians would be allowed to return to their homes.

Palestinians walk through smoke after Israeli operation in NuseiratBASHAR TALEB – AFP

Phase one also requires the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “on a scale throughout the Gaza Strip,” which Biden said would bring 600 trucks of aid to the territory every day.

In the second phase, the resolution indicates that with the agreement of Israel and Hamas there will be “a permanent end to hostilities in exchange for the release of all other hostages who remain in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

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

Netanyahu’s mixed signals seemed to reflect his political dilemma. The far-right allies of his coalition They have rejected the proposal and threaten to bring down the government if it ends the war without destroying Hamas. A lasting ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza would likely allow Hamas to retain control over the territory and rebuild its military capacity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks with Israeli hostage Andrey Kozlov, 27, at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center, following his rescue by the Israeli army from captivity in the Gaza Strip.– – IDF Spokesperson’s unit via GPO

However, Netanyahu also faces a huge pressure to reach an agreement to recover the hostages. Thousands of Israelis, including relatives of the hostages, have demonstrated in favor of the plan sponsored by Washington.

The transition from the first to the second phase seemed to be the issue in dispute. Hamas wants assurances that Israel will not resume warwhile Israel wants to ensure that lengthy second-phase negotiations do not prolong ceasefire indefinitely while the hostages remain captive.

Blinken said the proposal would amount to an immediate ceasefire and commit the two sides to negotiating a lasting one. “The ceasefire that would occur immediately would hold, something that is clearly good for everyone. And then we will see,” Blinken said.

AP and AFP Agencies

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