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UN Security Council adopts US draft resolution supporting Gaza cease-fire deal


(WASHINGTON) — The United Nations Security Council on Monday afternoon adopted a U.S. draft resolution urging Hamas to accept the latest cease-fire and hostage release deal.

Fourteen members of the council voted in favor of the measure and only one — Russia — elected to abstain. Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power over resolutions.

Nate Evans, spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, noted in a statement ahead of the vote that the deal would enable a pause in fighting, the freeing of a number of hostages and an immediate surge in humanitarian assistance, among other things.

“Israel has accepted this proposal and the Security Council has an opportunity to speak with one voice and call on Hamas to do the same,” his statement continued. “Doing so would help save lives and the suffering of civilians in Gaza as well as the hostages and their families. Council Members should not let this opportunity to pass by and must speak with one voice in support of this deal.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made a similar case just before the vote, saying that every day the war goes on, “needless suffering continues.”

“Colleagues, after eight months of devastation and pain and trauma, what is needed now more than ever is for the fighting to end in a sustainable way,” she said. “The United States and every single country in this chamber wants to see an immediate cease-fire with the release of hostages. We’ve heard those calls time and time again since Oct. 7. Now the opportunity is here. We must seize it.”

Hamas released a statement following the vote saying they “welcome” what was included in the draft resolution “regarding a permanent cease-fire in Gaza.”

President Joe Biden backed the deal in late May, announcing Israel had degraded Hamas’ capabilities and it was “time for this war to end” and the “day after to begin.”

Biden also outlined the plan’s three phases, the first lasting for six weeks and consisting of a cease-fire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas of Gaza, the release of a number of hostages and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The second phase would usher in a “cessation of hostilities permanently,” Biden said, should Hamas abide by the commitments laid out in the agreement, as well as the release of all remaining living hostages. The last phase would include a reconstruction of Gaza and the return of remains of hostages to their families.

The State Department said it was consulting with Israel on the U.N. draft resolution last week, even though Israel is not a member of the council.

The vote comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East to further negotiate the cease-fire and hostage agreement.

As he departed Cairo earlier Monday for Tel Aviv, Blinken called it a “critical moment.”

“My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region: If you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say yes,” Blinken told reporters. “If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes.

“If you want to get all the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes,” he continued. “If you want to put present Palestinians and Israelis alike on the path to more durable peace and security, if you want to prevent this conflict from spreading, press Hamas to say yes.”

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