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18 Feb, 2024 21:47

US promises to block Gaza ceasefire

Israel has “categorically” rejected all efforts to end the war that involve recognizing a Palestinian state
US promises to block Gaza ceasefire

The US will veto a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Saturday.

The draft resolution put forward by Algeria, which is expected to come up for a vote on Tuesday, “will not be adopted” because it does not suit Washington’s own efforts to end the war, Thomas-Greenfield claimed. 

“It is critical that other parties give this process the best odds of succeeding, rather than push measures that put it – and the opportunity for an enduring resolution of hostilities – in jeopardy,” she said.

In addition to an immediate and complete ceasefire, the Algerian resolution would order all parties to comply with international law, establish unfettered humanitarian access throughout all of Gaza, and reject the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians.

Thomas-Greenfield had earlier claimed that the draft would “put sensitive negotiations in jeopardy” regarding efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages from Gaza and impose an “extended pause” to deliver aid to the people of Gaza, most of whom are living in famine conditions, according to the UN. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet issued a declaration on Sunday confirming it “categorically rejects international edicts on a permanent arrangement with the Palestinians,” specifically the recognition of a Palestinian state. The move would “grant a major prize to terror,” according to the Likud leader.

Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to continue the war until “total victory” is achieved, the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 are freed, and the group’s leadership is dead. He pledged to oppose any end to the war that leaves open the possibility of the militant group reconstituting itself and dismissed its own demands as unreasonable. 

Hamas has in turn said it would not release the remaining hostages – believed to number about 130 – until Israel ends the war and leaves Gaza. The group’s latest proposal for a ceasefire would see a gradual release of the captives in three stages over a four-and-a-half-month period, according to a draft obtained by CNN on Saturday. At the same time, Israel would gradually release Palestinians held in its prisons and withdraw its troops from Gaza.

Israel has killed nearly 29,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas raid that left 1,200 Israelis dead, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry. Over 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, many more than once. Around 1.4 million of those refugees are currently sheltering in the city of Rafah, the target of a planned ground offensive Israel insists is necessary to finish off the Palestinian militants.

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