US readies UN Security Council resolution calling for temporary cease-fire in Gaza

(WASHINGTON) — American diplomats are preparing to present a resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza in exchange for the release of all hostages held inside the enclave and making several other demands related to the impact of Israel’s campaign on Palestinian civilians, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

While the draft resolution is markedly more critical of Israel’s siege of Gaza than prior public statements expressed before the council by Biden administration officials, it also condemns Hamas’ attacks on Oct. 7 — a censure the Security Council has so far failed to pass.

The U.S., Qatar and Egypt are working to broker such an agreement between Israel and Hamas. While talks have stalled in recent weeks, negotiators are still optimistic a deal can be reached.

“The differences between the parties, they have been narrowed. They haven’t been sufficiently narrowed to get us to a deal, but we are still hopeful, and we are confident that there is the basis for an agreement between the parties,” one U.S. official said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. vetoed a resolution introduced by Algeria calling for an immediate pause in the conflict, marking the third time the Biden administration has rejected demands for a cease-fire in the chamber.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield explained that she voted against the measure because it did not condition the cease-fire on the release of hostages, arguing that it would derail ongoing talks that would accomplish both goals.

“While we cannot support a resolution that would put sensitive negotiations in jeopardy, we look forward to engaging on a text that we believe will address so many of the concerns we all share,” she said.

Beyond demanding the release of hostages for a cease-fire, senior administration officials say the U.S. resolution makes clear that Israel’s planned ground offensive into Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering, should not proceed “under current circumstances.”

Additionally, officials say the draft states that there can be no reduction in territory in the Gaza Strip or any forced displacement of Palestinians — demands that run counter to public statements expressed by the most conservative members of Netanyahu’s government.

The measure also calls on Israel “to lift all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance, open additional humanitarian routes, and to keep current crossings open,” one official said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that his country would not be dissuaded from its mission by any form of international pressure.

“We are committed to continuing the war until we achieve all of its goals, which means the elimination of Hamas, the release of all the abductees and the promise that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said. “There is no pressure–no pressure — that can change that.”

While the language in the draft resolution is markedly more critical of Israel’s campaign than prior public statements by American representatives at the U.N., it also condemns Hamas’ attacks on Oct. 7 — a censure the council has so far failed to pass.

U.S. officials signaled that they would not rush to bring their proposal to a vote in the chamber, saying they anticipated allowing ample “time for negotiations.”

But it’s unclear whether any amount of time will allow diplomats to break through gridlock in the council.

In late October, a U.S.-led effort to pass a resolution calling for extended humanitarian pauses was rejected by Russia and China, two other permanent members of the body with veto power.

After torpedoing the U.S. text, representatives from both countries hastily submitted their own proposal calling for an immediate cease-fire, which, in turn, was quashed by the U.S.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

SHARE NOW