UN Security Council endorses temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas

The United Nations Security Council on Monday approved a resolution sponsored by the United States calling for an immediate, temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Fourteen members of the 15-member body voted in favor of the resolution, with one abstention from the Russian Federation.

The vote on the cease-fire resolution sends a political signal of unity from the members of the council. The text of the resolution notes that Israel has “accepted” a proposal laid out by President Biden on May 31, and “calls upon Hamas to also accept it, and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on Hamas to accept the cease-fire proposal.

“Today this council sent a clear message to Hamas, accept the cease-fire deal on the table. Israel has already agreed to this deal, and the fighting could stop today if Hamas would do the same. I repeat, the fighting could stop today,” she said.

The U.S.-sponsored resolution at the Security Council lays out a proposal described by Biden late last month of a three-phase deal to secure the release of 120 Israeli hostages held by Hamas through the cessation of fighting for at least six weeks, with follow-on negotiations aimed at bringing about a permanent end to hostilities.

Fu Cong, the permanent representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, voted in favor of the resolution but criticized the text as “ambiguous” in moving from each phase to the next and whether the arrangement can be carried out smoothly, a criticism echoed by the Israeli representative at the meeting.

“Israel will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time,” said Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly, the political coordinator for Israel’s mission to the UN.

“The time has come for this council to finally hold Hamas accountable to finally place the blame where it belongs to finally condemn terror.”

Biden and the U.S. have described the cease-fire proposal as one that was approved by, and accepted by Israel, although comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have sent conflicting messages about Israel’s commitment to the deal.

Netanyahu has said that Israel cannot agree to a permanent cease-fire until all the hostages are released, and that Hamas is stripped of its ability to threaten Israel militarily and that it does not govern the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has so far rejected the proposal, saying it does not meet its demands of an end to the war and a full withdrawal of all Israeli forces in the strip.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling between Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar to build support for the proposal. Egypt and Qatar are the main interlocutors with Hamas.

“Egypt and Qatar have assured the United States that they are continuing to work to ensure that Hamas engages constructively,” Thomas-Greenfield said in remarks following the vote. “And the United States will help ensure that Israel lives up to its obligations as well, assuming that Hamas accepts the deal.”

Updated at 5:01 p.m.

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