U.N. Security Council adopts resolution on permanent Gaza cease-fire

The United Nations Security Council approved, 14-0, a U.S.-sponsored resolution to support the American-backed cease-fire plan for Gaza. Russia abstained.

The vote was a rare diplomatic victory for the Biden administration in the international body, where criticism has grown over what is seen by many as U.S. support for the war and Israeli intransigence.

It throws council support behind the three-phase plan announced by President Biden on May 31. It would begin with a complete cease-fire for six weeks, during which Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas, Hamas would release all women, children, elderly and wounded hostages, Palestinians would be allowed to return to their homes throughout Gaza and the enclave would be flooded with humanitarian aid.

The temporary cease-fire would continue as long as the two sides negotiated in good faith over phase two: a permanent cessation of violence, complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the return of the remaining hostages. It also bans any reduction in the territory of Gaza — including the security buffer zone inside Gaza’s border that Israel has begun building — and details a third phase that would allow for reconstruction and steps toward a two-state solution for both Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Hamas issued a statement welcoming the council vote, saying it was ready “to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles.”

The administration has put the onus on Hamas to unequivocally agree to the proposal, which the Biden administration has said is virtually identical to what the militants demanded in a previous round of failed negotiations.

Although Israel has “authorized” the plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of his government have publicly objected to certain of its elements, including the staging of withdrawal and hostage releases, a future in which Israel has no security control over Gaza and a two-state solution. Netanyahu has publicly indicated that he intends to continue military operations until all elements of Hamas are destroyed.

The Security Council resolution was expanded beyond a bare-bones version the administration circulated early last week to incorporate suggestions from other members, including a demand for details. Rather than just urging Hamas to accept the cease-fire terms, the final measure included language pushing “both parties” to implement it “without delay and without condition.”

This is a developing story.

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