Algeria Proposes UN Action to 'Stop Killing in Rafah'

Fire breaks out among the tents of displaced people that were subjected to Israeli bombing in Rafah (Reuters)
Fire breaks out among the tents of displaced people that were subjected to Israeli bombing in Rafah (Reuters)
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Algeria Proposes UN Action to 'Stop Killing in Rafah'

Fire breaks out among the tents of displaced people that were subjected to Israeli bombing in Rafah (Reuters)
Fire breaks out among the tents of displaced people that were subjected to Israeli bombing in Rafah (Reuters)

Algeria on Tuesday proposed a draft UN Security Council resolution that demands a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the release of all hostages held by Hamas and essentially orders Israel to "immediately halt its military offensive" in Rafah.

Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama said earlier on Tuesday - after a closed-door meeting of the 15-member UN security body on Gaza - that the aim of the move was to "stop the killing in Rafah." Algeria is a council member for 2024/25.

The Algerian draft text, seen by Reuters, uses the strongest Security Council language - it "decides that Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah."

It also cites a ruling by the International Court of Justice last week that ordered Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa's case accusing Israel of genocide.

Diplomats said the council could vote within days.

The move comes after an attack on Sunday set off a blaze in a camp in a designated humanitarian zone of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 45 people. Israel said it had targeted Hamas militants and had not intended to harms civilians.

A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. The US has so far shielded its ally Israel by vetoing three draft council resolutions on the war in Gaza.

But Washington has also abstained on three votes, most recently allowing the council in March to demand an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas.



White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that mediators for Qatar and Egypt plan to engage Hamas militants soon to see if there is a way to push ahead with a Gaza ceasefire proposal offered by US President Joe Biden.

Sullivan spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Ukraine peace summit and was asked about diplomatic efforts to get an agreement for Hamas to release some hostages held since Oct. 7 in exchange for a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

Sullivan said he had spoken briefly to one of the main interlocutors, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and that they would speak again about Gaza on Sunday while both are in Switzerland for the Ukraine conference, Reuters reported.

Hamas has welcomed the ceasefire proposal, but insists any agreement must secure an end to the war, a demand Israel still rejects. Israel described Hamas's response to the new US peace proposal as total rejection.

Sullivan said that US officials have taken a close look at Hamas's response.

"We think some of the edits are not unexpected and can be managed. Some of them are inconsistent both with what President Biden laid out and what the UN Security Council endorsed. And we are having to deal with that reality," he said.

He said US officials believe there remains an avenue to an agreement and that the next step will be for Qatari and Egyptian mediators to talk to Hamas and "go through what can be worked with and what really can’t be worked with."

"We anticipate a back-and-forth between the mediators and Hamas. We’ll see where we stand at that point. We will keep consulting with the Israelis and then hopefully at some point next week we’ll be able to report to you where we think things stand and what we see as being the next step to try to bring this to closure," he said.