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Russia, China wrangle with US over UN resolution on Gaza ceasefire plan

June 7, 2024 at 9:19 am

Tens of thousands of protesters march through central London in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to demand an immediate ceasefire to end the war on Gaza on the 76th anniversary of Nakba in London, United Kingdom on May 18, 2024.[Wiktor Szymanowicz – Anadolu Agency]

Russia and China, which hold veto powers in the UN Security Council, yesterday raised concerns with a US draft resolution that would back a proposal – outlined by President Joe Biden – for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, Reuters reports.

The council’s only Arab member, Algeria, also signalled it was not ready to back the text, diplomats said. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, France, Britain, China or Russia to pass.

Biden laid out a three-phase ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip a week ago that he described as an Israeli initiative. However Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to announce that Tel Aviv will not stop the war permanently, apparently backtracking from the deal.

The US is seeking international support for the plan that Hamas is still studying. It circulated a one-page draft resolution to the 15-member UN Security Council on Monday and a revised version on Wednesday, both seen by Reuters.

The current draft welcomes the ceasefire proposal, describes it as “acceptable” to Israel, “calls upon Hamas to also accept it, and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Read: Israel Premier says country fighting amid ‘difficult international pressures’

It lists some details of the proposal – with “a full and complete ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip as part of phase one and “upon agreement of the parties, a permanent end to hostilities” in phase two.

But some council members have raised questions about whether Israel has actually accepted the plan and want the council to stick to a demand made in March for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional release of all hostages, diplomats said.

Russia proposed amendments to the US text that included calling upon both Hamas and Israel to accept the proposal and demanding an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire respected by all parties.

Moscow also wants the draft to stress that the phase one ceasefire will remain in place as long as negotiations continue on phase two, reflecting remarks made by Biden last week.

For months, negotiators from the US, Egypt and Qatar have been trying to mediate a ceasefire. Hamas says it wants a permanent end to the war in the Gaza Strip and Israeli withdrawal from the enclave of 2.3 million people.

However, US President, Joe Biden, suggested  earlier this week that Netanyahu could be extending the war for self-preservation. Members of the Israeli government coalition have threatened to topple the government if it agrees to end the war on Gaza, where it has killed more than 36,600 Palestinians. Should this happen, Netanyahu risks standing trial in numerous corruption cases.