Israel-Hamas war: UN Security Council adopts resolution backing Gaza ceasefire proposal

US finalised text on Sunday after six days of negotiations among council members with some questioning Israel’s acceptance of plan

The United Nations Security Council on Monday adopted a US-drafted resolution backing a proposal outlined by president Joe Biden for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas welcomed the plan, saying it is ready to co-operate with mediators over implementing the principles of the deal.

Russia abstained from the vote, while the remaining 14 council members voted in favour. The US had finalised its text on Sunday after six days of negotiations among the council.

Mr Biden laid out a three-phase ceasefire plan on May 31st that he described as an Israeli initiative. Some security council members questioned whether Israel had accepted the plan to end the fighting in Gaza.


The resolution welcomes the new ceasefire proposal, “which Israel accepted, calls upon Hamas to also accept it, and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

“We’re waiting on Hamas to agree to the ceasefire deal it claims to want,” US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council before the vote. “With every passing day, needless suffering continues.”

The resolution also goes into detail about the proposal, and spells out that “if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.”

The council in March demanded for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.

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.

Earlier on Monday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken arrived in Israel and urged Middle East leaders to press Hamas to accept a ceasefire and hostage release deal to halt the fighting in Gaza.

Mr Blinken, on his eighth trip to the region since the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7th, said the organisation was the only outlier in not accepting the proposal for the three-phase deal proposed by Mr Biden 10 days ago, to which he said Israel had agreed.

“Does Hamas want to end this conflict, end this war that it started, or not? We’ll find out,” Mr Blinken said. “But it’s clear that virtually the entire world has come together in support of the proposal.”

Washington says its proposal envisions a ceasefire in stages, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war. But Israel still says it will agree only to temporary pauses until Hamas is defeated, while Hamas says it will not accept a truce without guarantees that the war will end.

The White House has denied an NBC news report that the Biden administration has discussed the possibility of securing a deal with Hamas that would lead to the release of five US citizens being held hostage in Gaza if the ceasefire talks involving Israel fail.

Mr Blinken will also use his visit to push Israel to further improve the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, while stressing the need to avoid civilian casualties during the fighting.

The World Food Programme said it had paused operations via the US-built pier in Gaza after Israel’s raid in Nuseirat in central Gaza on Saturday when four hostages were rescued and, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, more than 270 people were killed.

In Rafah, the city on the southern edge of Gaza where Israel launched an offensive last month, residents said on Monday tanks had been thrusting deeper towards the north in the early hours of the morning. They were on the edge of Shaboura, one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods at the heart of the city.

More than 37,100 Palestinians have been killed since the war began on October 7th, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 253 hostages seized in the surprise Hamas attack on that day. It says 120 hostages remain in Hamas captivity but it is not known how many are alive.

The leaders of the two far-right parties in prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition have welcomed Sunday night’s decision by Benny Gantz, head of the centrist National Unity party, to quit the government, leaving the coalition with only right-wing and religious parties.

“We succeeded in thwarting Gantz’s demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionist party, expressing the hope that the development “will allow us to act in a much more decisive and determined manner against the Palestinian Authority.”

Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength)‚ demanded a seat in the war cabinet and described Mr Gantz’s resignation as an opportunity for Israel.

“In many cases he got in the way of leading the war,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to step up and bring victory.”

Mr Netanyahu’s coalition is not in immediate danger and still has the backing of a majority of 64 of the 120 member Knesset parliament. However, the first test is a Bill to extend the military draft exemption for ultra-Orthodox students promoted by Mr Netanyahu. Ahead of the first vote, expected in the early hours of Tuesday morning, defence minister Yoav Gallant said he will vote against it. Religious parties are threatening to bring the government down if the Bill does not pass. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem