UN Security Council Passes Ceasefire in Gaza: Israel to withdraw troops

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Fireball after Israeli strike on Rafah, December 21 2023. (Agence France-Presse, VOA Africa)

United States (US) President Joe Biden approved a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which was approved Sunday, 9 June 2024. The plan was approved profusely on Monday, 10 June, with 14 out of the 15 nations on the council voting in favor. The Russian Federation abstained from voting. 

In order for the resolution to pass, there needed to be no vetoes by the five permanent members of the UNSC: China, the United States of America, France, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation.

Additionally, nine of ten non-permanent members needed to have voted in favor. The UN General Assembly elects 10 non-permanent members for two-year terms. At this time, the ten non-permanent members are Algeria, Ecuador, Guyana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, and Switzerland. 

Conditions in the Gaza Strip have been so inhumane and violent that the United States, which has been Israel’s strongest ally, actually initiated a plan to end the conflict, in the interest of protecting human life. The death toll in the 365 square mile territory has exceeded 37,000, with a significant percentage of casualties being women and children.

Hamas, an Islamist political and military movement, has been the de facto ruling authority in the Gaza Strip since 2007. Before then, Fatah, a secular and social democratic party, was in power, but a brief civil war in 2007 saw the consolidation of Hamas’s power.

Hamas has welcomed the resolution and Israel has accepted it.

But there are massive red flags indicating Israel is off board with this proposal. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is making efforts to convince Netanyahu to commit to this proposal.

The three-phase proposal has also received widespread endorsement from the European Union. The first phase calls for a complete ceasefire, where Israeli forces will withdraw from Gazan urban centers, releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for men, women, and children. American and other foreign nationals and hostages would also be released at this stage and killed hostages’ remains would be returned to their families.

Furthermore, humanitarian assistance would begin at this stage, but only 600 trucks would be allowed into the Gaza Strip daily to serve the approximate population of two million.

The second phase is where all hostages and prisoners of war would be released. Moreover, one hundred percent of Israeli forces would withdraw from Gazan territory. Considering both sides honored the ceasefire, fighting would conclude permanently.

The third phase calls for a major rebuilding of Gazan infrastructure, which will most likely take multiple decades, as the devastation from the Israeli assault has been extremely detrimental to Gaza. 

The most difficult aspect of the truce is moving from the first to the second phase, as the prisoner and hostage release lacks detail, and is thus subject to immense negotiation from Hamas and Israeli state actors. Moreover, the Israeli military is extremely committed to a total military victory over Hamas.

According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and NBC, there are three grim scenarios that will ensue if Israel does not accept the ceasefire.

The first scenario, according to Blinken, was “Either Israel would have to stay, which [it] says it doesn’t want to do, and we believe it must not do, and we’ll be left holding the bag in Gaza.”

The second scenario was a continued “major insurgency”, which would not end for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, the third scenario, was “in the absence of a plan, it means Hamas returns, or we have a total vacuum and you just have chaos, lawlessness, criminality, jihadist groups, etc.”

Written by Eshan Korat

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