UN Security Council Votes Unanimously in Favor of Plan to End War in Gaza

ON 06/11/2024 AT 06 : 27 AM

The UNSC voted 14-0 for a U.S.-sponsored plan which supposedly came from Israel. The problem is Hamas is on board this time but Israel is not.
UN Security Council
Empty seats of the UN Security Council.. Per Krohg

On May 31, Joe Biden publicly proposed a three-phase plan which would start with a ceasefire by both Israel and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, conclude the war, and begin the rebuilding of Gaza. It would also put in place a two-state solution in which Palestine would exist as a separate state. He said that Israel “offered” the terms he unveiled at that time, while also acknowledging that, “there are a number of details in negotiations” regarding moving from the first ceasefire phase to a second phase which would negotiate how to end the war forever.

Yesterday an only slightly altered version of that proposal was submitted to the United Nations Security Council for debate and vote. It clarified some language from the original and importantly adjusted the language asking only Hamas to support the resolution to new phrasing which called for both Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition”.

UN Security Council votes on the the plan to end the war in Gaza on June 10, 2024.
UN Security Council June 2024 Chair Joonkook Hwang, of the Republic of Korea, is shown here as he announced the voting on the landmark resolution for a three phase plan for a ceasefire and to end the war. The permanent members of the Security Council who could have vetoed the plan are China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. sponsored the resolution.. Screen capture from UN News Centre video feed (FAIR USE)

It was approved with 14 votes in favor, and none opposed. It is now officially enshrined as UN Security Council Resolution 2735.

The Russian Federation chose to abstain. Vassily Nebenzia, that country’s ambassador to the United Nations, questioned exactly what it was that Israel had agreed to in the proposal. He said the UNSC should not be passing resolutions with “vague parameters” on such a critical issue. But he voted for it anyway.

“We did not wish to block the resolution simply because it, as much as we understand, is supported by the Arab world,” he said as he explained his vote before the rest of the council members.

This was the first time in the history of the phase of the war between Israel and Hamas which began on October 7 that the UN Security Council backed a stepwise plan to end Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza.

“Today we voted for peace,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S.’ UN Ambassador.

“Hamas can now see that the international community is united behind a deal that will save lives and help Palestinian civilians in Gaza start to rebuild and heal,” she went on.

“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,” she continued.

As in the plan puppet Joe Biden announced to the world, the final document approved yesterday also describes three phases.

Phase 1, which will last six weeks, calls for the “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly, and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed.” The prisoner exchange will include release of Palestinians jailed by Israel and Israelis held captive by Hamas.

At the same time as that is happening, the agreement calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli forces from the populated areas in Gaza, the return of Palestinian civilians to their homes and neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the north.”

A further clause says that during this phase humanitarian assistance will be distributed widely and freely throughout all of Gaza. That aid will be provided, the resolution says, “to all Palestinian civilians who need it”. A clarification from the original Biden proposal says the aid will now also include “housing units delivered by the international community”.

Phase 2, which begins immediately at the end of Phase 1. The text reads that this step in the process will provide, “upon agreement of the parties, a permanent end to hostilities, in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

In the original version of the plan Biden talked about on May 31, Phase 1’s ceasefire terms and the repositioning of Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip would be extended past the original six weeks if the parties had not yet agreed to that “permanent end” to the bloodshed in Gaza.

Following this important set of actions, Phase 3 will feature “the start of a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza to their families.”

The proposal goes on to include a provision saying the UNSC “rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip, including any actions that reduce the territory of Gaza.”

It also explicitly goes on to endorse the need for Palestine to have its own independent state as an important conclusion of the war.

The UNSC, it says, is united in its “unwavering commitment to the vision of the two-state solution where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, 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.”

“In this regard [the UN resolution] stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” the agreement detailed further.

In response to the plan, Hamas issued a formal statement supporting the UN Security Council’s action. Calling it “in line with the demands of our people and our resistance”, the group declared “its readiness to cooperate with the mediators to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation” of the resolution.

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan was present as the UN Security Council began its deliberations on the measure, but he did not stay and did not comment publicly on the result after the resolution was passed. It is assumed he kept his silence since on June 1 he announced he would be resigning from his post effective July 1.

It was instead Israeli diplomat Reut Shafir Ben Naftali who issued Israel’s official response. While it did not explicitly reject the proposal, it made clear the Netanyahu administration has no intention of signing up to a permanent ceasefire until Hamas’s power is obliterated.

“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,” Ben Naftali explained. “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.”

“As we have echoed several times in this very chamber, once these goals are met, the war will end,” she told the UN Security Council chamber.

“The pressure on the terrorists should have begun long ago but it is still not too late, it must begin now,” she explained further. “We will continue until all of the hostages are returned and until Hamas’ military and governing capabilities are dismantled.”

Regarding what happens next, she added that her country “will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations, which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time.”

Of perhaps more significance since the UN Security Council resolution was passed is the complete silence from either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or any senior members of his cabinet.

Netanyahu is already under extreme pressure from Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and other right-wing members of his cabinet to continue the war at all costs.

Netanyahu is also reeling from multiple resignations within his administration.

Most notable is Zionist Benny Gantz, who on May 18 threatened to resign by June 8 and pull the support of his centrist National Unity Party from Netanyahu’s Likud Party’s ruling coalition, if there was no plan in place for what happens when the war is over. This weekend Gantz made his resignation official, leaving a gaping hole in the coalition government and leaving an open slot in Netanyahu’s Emergency War Cabinet.

In a televised statement in which Gantz described his exit as a “complex and painful” choice, he attacked the prime minister as the real reason the war has not concluded.

“Netanyahu prevents us from moving forward to a real victory [in Gaza},” he said. “That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart, but with a whole heart.”

Gantz said he is quitting because “the situation in the country and in the decision-making room has changed.”

“Fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations,” he said.

“I call on Netanyahu: set an agreed election date. Do not let our people be torn apart,” Gantz said as he concluded his address.

Following that resignation, Ben-Gvir demanded he be given the slot Gantz previously held. Such a move would reinforce Netanyahu’s position not to end the war but would also tilt the government even further toward its already heavily fascist right-wing slant.

Despite all these signs which say Netanyahu does not support the UN Security Council Resolution, would be at high risk of seeing his coalition government fall apart if he did, and never authorized Biden to claim he backed something like it on May 31, Joe Biden yesterday made certain to paint Hamas as the one to blame if this latest plan does not go through.

“The UN Security Council just adopted our resolution calling on Hamas to accept the deal to establish a ceasefire with the release of hostages,” Biden said in a post on social media about the Security Council resolution. “Hamas says it wants a ceasefire. This deal is an opportunity to prove they mean it.”

In view of Hamas’ warm reception for the ceasefire offer and Israel’s UN spokesperson saying there will be no end to the war unless Hamas is powerless, a far more accurate statement might be for Biden to remind everyone that he said Israel backed the deal, and that since it “wants a ceasefire”, maybe now is the “opportunity [for Israel] to prove they mean it.”