“Today we voted for peace”

UN Security Council adopts motion urging Hamas to accept Israeli hostage-truce offer

Terror group welcomes resolution even though it has yet to accept proposal; Israel avoids publicly voicing opposition to initiative after coming out against it last week.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) votes during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters on June 10, 2024 in New York. (The Times of Israel: ANGELA WEISS / AFP)
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) votes during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters on June 10, 2024 in New York. (The Times of Israel: ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

(THE TIMES OF ISRAEL) The United Nations Security Council adopted a US-led resolution on Monday that urges Hamas to accept Israel’s latest hostage-for-ceasefire proposal, as Washington aims to intensify global pressure on the terror group in order to bring about an end to the war in Gaza.

Fourteen of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, with only Russia voting to abstain.

Israel came out against the resolution last week, taking issue with some of the amendments that were made to the text.

The US addressed one of those concerns, dropping an explicit rejection to the establishment of Israeli security buffer zones in Gaza. The move appeared to be enough to satisfy Israel, whose representative at Monday’s meeting avoided criticizing the resolution or directly commenting on it whatsoever.

“Today we voted for peace,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council after the vote.

“United behind a deal that will save lives and help Palestinian civilians in Gaza start to rebuild and heal. United behind a deal that will reunite hostages with their families after eight months in captivity. United behind a deal that will lead to a more secure Israel and unlock the possibility of more progress, including calm along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

While Hamas has yet to accept the latest proposal since receiving the term’s in late May, the terror group issued a statement welcoming the UN Security Council’s adoption of the resolution.

“The movement would like to emphasize its readiness to cooperate with the mediators to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles that are in line with the demands of our people and our resistance,” the Hamas statement said.

“We also affirm the continuation of our endeavor and struggle… to achieve [our] national rights, foremost of which is defeating the occupation and establishing an independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” it added.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan was present for the start of the session, though the Israeli response to the vote was delivered by career diplomat Reut Shafir Ben Naftali, in an apparent attempt to depoliticize the speech by not having a political appointee be the one to present it.

Ben Naftali did not explicitly confirm that Israel indeed stands by the latest hostage deal proposal, instead echoing points made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past week.

Troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released for publication by the military on June 9, 2024. (The Times of Israel: Israel Defense Forces)

“From the very first days following Hamas’s invasion and brutal massacre on October 7th, Israel’s goals have been very clear: To bring all our hostages home and to dismantle Hamas’s capabilities. Israel is committed to these goals – to free all the hostages, destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, and ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future,” she said.

Netanyahu has avoided offering significant comment on the proposal, which hasn’t been fully released to the public and is being interpreted by some as allowing Hamas to remain in Gaza in some form, given that the proposal envisions a phase one temporary ceasefire with the terror group that is later turned permanent in its second phase.

Channel 12 on Monday said it had obtained the Israeli proposal and that it includes a commitment to end the war in Gaza even before all hostages are released.

Contrary to what Netanyahu has insisted, the four-page document apparently does not include the elimination of Hamas as a governing force in Gaza, and does include an Israeli commitment to end the war even before all the hostages are released, Channel 12 reported.

Immediately following the broadcast, Netanyahu’s office called it misleading and said the claim Israel had agreed to end the war before achieving its goals was “a total lie.”

‘Won’t engage in meaningless and endless negotiations’
Explaining Moscow’s decision to abstain during Monday’s vote, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya claimed that council members were being asked to approve a proposal that they have not seen in its entirety. He said members were being told that Israel accepted the proposal, while Netanyahu has repeatedly insisted that the war will continue until Hamas has been defeated, implying the latter was at odds with the proposal laid out by Biden.

Russian permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia greets Representative of the United States to the UN, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as he arrives for the start of a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question at the United Nations headquarters on June 10, 2024 in New York City. (The Times of Israel: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP)

While the US president declared in his speech that the deal would not leave Hamas in charge of Gaza, he did not explain how the terror group would be removed from power once a ceasefire is in place.

Many of the details of the three-phased proposal that were revealed by Biden in that speech were included in the Security Council resolution.

Added to one of the final versions of the resolution was “clause 14” of Israel’s hostage deal proposal, which states that phase one’s six-week ceasefire can be extended as long as the talks between the parties during this stage — aimed at finalizing the terms of phase two — are taking place.

While the entirety of the Israeli proposal was indeed not included in the resolution, the text “welcomes the ceasefire proposal announced on May 31, which Israel accepted, calls upon Hamas to also accept it and urges both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

The US-led resolution also expresses “unwavering commitment to achieving the vision of a negotiated two-state solution… consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions, and in this regard stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”

The two-state framework is rejected by Netanyahu’s government, which has also worked to weaken the PA, likening the governing body to Hamas.

Many of the ambassadors speaking at Monday’s session welcomed the IDF operation to free four hostages over the weekend but also lamented the Palestinians killed in the firefight that ensued.

Palestinians look at the aftermath of the Israeli bombing in Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (The Times of Israel: AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Addressing the issue, Ben Naftali pointed out that the hostages were held in civilian homes guarded by terrorists. “These so-called innocent civilians were not only cooperating with the terrorists, but were complicit in their heinous crimes.”

“As the world witnessed on Saturday, Israeli soldiers sacrifice their lives to bring our hostages home, while Hamas intentionally sacrifices Gazan children to prevent us from rescuing our children. Israel regrets any harm to civilians, but it must be emphasized that Palestinians who cooperate with Hamas and take part in their war crimes – are not uninvolved,’” she adds, urging the international community to hold Hamas accountable.

She also warned that “Israel will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time.”

Speaking after the session, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour welcomed the resolution but asserted the onus was on Israel to implement it, even though Hamas has yet to even accept it. He also made a point of thanking the Qatari and Egyptian mediators while notably leaving out the third mediator — the United States.

Mansour vowed the Palestinians will continue “pursuing justice” against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

The motion approved Monday was the fourth resolution pertaining to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war passed by the Security Council.

Food and goods stalls are set up by vendors close to the ruins of destroyed buildings as people shop in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip on June 7, 2024 (The Times of Israel: Omar AL-QATTAA / AFP)

The top UN body passed a resolution in March calling for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional release of the hostages. The US abstained over the text’s lack of condemnation of Hamas. The other two resolutions called for an increase in Gaza humanitarian aid and temporary pauses in the fighting.

The war started on October 7 when Hamas launched an onslaught on southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages.

It is believed that 116 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza, many of them dead. Hamas is also holding two Israeli civilians who entered the Strip in 2014 and 2015, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in 2014.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 37,000 people in the Strip have been killed in the fighting so far. The tolls, which cannot be verified and do not differentiate between civilians and combatants, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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