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Algeria pushes UN Security Council to demand Gaza ceasefire

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Algeria has drafted a U.N. Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a move that the United States - a council veto power - opposes because it says it would only benefit the Palestinian militants.

The draft, seen by Reuters on Thursday, also "rejects the forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population" and again demands all parties comply with international law and calls for full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access into and throughout the entire Gaza Strip.

Algeria shared the draft with the 15-member council on Wednesday, diplomats said, after the body met to discuss a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week that ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide, but it stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire.

It was not immediately known when or if Algeria's draft resolution could be put to a vote. A resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia to be adopted.

In December the Security Council adopted a resolution to boost humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip that stopped short of a call for a ceasefire after a week of vote delays and intense negotiations to avoid a veto by Israel ally the United States.

The U.S. and Israel oppose a ceasefire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.

Earlier in December the 193-member U.N. General Assembly demanded a humanitarian ceasefire, with 153 states voting in favor of the move that had been vetoed by the United States in the Security Council days earlier.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Diane Craft)