Blinken Welcomes UN Vote in Favor of Gaza Ceasefire Plan

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the UN Security Council vote to approve its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Monday, June 10, 2024. (Eskinder Debebe/United Nations via AP)
In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the UN Security Council vote to approve its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Monday, June 10, 2024. (Eskinder Debebe/United Nations via AP)
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Blinken Welcomes UN Vote in Favor of Gaza Ceasefire Plan

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the UN Security Council vote to approve its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Monday, June 10, 2024. (Eskinder Debebe/United Nations via AP)
In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the UN Security Council vote to approve its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Monday, June 10, 2024. (Eskinder Debebe/United Nations via AP)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the UN Security Council’s vote in favor of a US-backed proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza made it “as clear as it possibly could be” that the world supports the plan, as he again called on Hamas to accept it. 

“Everyone’s vote is in, except for one vote, and that’s Hamas,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv after meeting with Israeli officials. Blinken said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal” when they met late Monday. 

Blinken's latest visit to the region — his eighth since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack ignited the war — is focused on rallying support for the ceasefire proposal, boosting the entry of humanitarian aid and advancing postwar plans for Gaza's governance. He is traveling on to Jordan as well as Qatar, which along with Egypt has served as a key mediator with Hamas. 

The proposal, announced by President Joe Biden last month, calls for a three-phased plan in which Hamas would release the rest of the hostages in exchange for a lasting ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The group is still holding around 120 hostages, a third of whom are believed to be dead. 

Biden presented it as an Israeli proposal, but Netanyahu has publicly disputed key aspects of it, saying Israel won’t end the war without destroying Hamas and returning all the hostages. 

Hamas has not yet formally responded to the proposal. The militant group welcomed the UN resolution and supports the broad outline of the agreement but has demanded assurances it will be implemented. The militant group embraced a similar proposal last month that was rejected by Israel. 

“Efforts are continuing to study and clarify some matters to ensure implementation by the Israeli side,” Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said Tuesday. Israel “has not given clear approval or commitments to implementation that would lead to ending the aggression,” he said. 

On Monday, the UN Security Council voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposal, with 14 of the 15 members voting in favor and Russia abstaining. The resolution calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.” 

The proposal has raised hopes of ending an eight-month war that has killed over 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, and driven some 80% of the population of 2.3 million from their homes. Israeli restrictions and ongoing fighting have hindered efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the isolated coastal enclave, fueling widespread hunger. 

The war began when Hamas and other fighters stormed into Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostage. Over 100 hostages were released during a weeklong ceasefire last year in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. 

Biden’s May 31 announcement of the new proposal said it would begin with an initial six-week ceasefire and the release of some hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas and Palestinian civilians would be allowed to return to their homes. 

Phase one also requires the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “at scale throughout the Gaza Strip,” which Biden said would lead to 600 trucks with aid entering Gaza every day. 

In phase two, the resolution says that with the agreement of Israel and Hamas, “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” will take place. 

Phase three would launch “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 conflicting signals from Netanyahu appear to reflect his political dilemma. His far-right coalition allies have rejected the proposal and have threatened to bring down his government if he ends the war without destroying Hamas. A lasting ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza would likely allow Hamas to retain control of the territory and rebuild its military capabilities. 

But Netanyahu is also under mounting pressure to accept a deal to bring the hostages back. Thousands of Israelis, including families of the hostages, have demonstrated in favor of the US-backed plan. 

The transition from the first to the second phase appears to be a sticking point. Hamas wants assurances that Israel will not resume the war, and Israel wants to ensure that protracted negotiations over the second phase do not prolong the ceasefire indefinitely while leaving hostages in captivity. 

Blinken said the proposal would bring an immediate ceasefire and commit the parties to negotiate an enduring one. “The ceasefire that would take place immediately would remain in place, which is manifestly good for everyone. And then we’ll have to see,” Blinken said. 



More than a 100 Killed in Gaza in 24 Hours

Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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More than a 100 Killed in Gaza in 24 Hours

Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

 At least 42 people were killed in Israeli attacks on districts of Gaza City in the north of the Palestinian enclave on Saturday, the director of the Hamas-run government media office said.
One Israeli strike on houses in Al-Shati, one of the Gaza Strip's eight historic refugee camps, killed 24 people, Ismail Al-Thawabta told Reuters. Another 18 Palestinians were killed in a strike on houses in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood.

The offensive has left Gaza in ruins, killed more than 37,400 people, of whom 101 were killed in the past 24 hours, according to Palestinian health authorities, and left nearly the entire population homeless and destitute.

The Israeli military released a brief statement saying: "A short while ago, army fighter jets struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the area of Gaza City."
It said more details would be released soon.
Hamas did not comment on the Israeli claim to have hit its military infrastructure. It said in a statement the attacks targeted the civilian population and vowed in a statement "the occupation and its Nazi leaders will pay the price for their violations against our people."
Footage obtained by Reuters showed dozens of Palestinians rushing out to search for victims amid the destroyed houses. The footage showed wrecked homes, blasted walls, and debris and dust filling the street in Shati refugee camp.

More than eight months into the war, Israel's advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the centre.
Residents said Israeli tanks deepened their incursion into western and northern Rafah areas in recent days. On Saturday Israeli forces bombed several areas from air and the ground, forcing many families living in areas described as humanitarian-designated zones to leave northwards.
The Israeli military said forces continued "precise, intelligence-based" targeted operations in Rafah, killing many Palestinian gunmen and dismantling military infrastructure.
On Friday, the Gaza health ministry said at least 25 Palestinians were killed in Mawasi in western Rafah and 50 wounded. Palestinians said a tank shell hit a tent housing displaced families.