Yemen Debates the Presidential Leadership Council

A meeting of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council led by Rashad al-Alimi (Saba)
A meeting of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council led by Rashad al-Alimi (Saba)
TT

Yemen Debates the Presidential Leadership Council

A meeting of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council led by Rashad al-Alimi (Saba)
A meeting of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council led by Rashad al-Alimi (Saba)

Yemen will never return to its pre-war status quo, and the alleged good intentions of the Houthi militias can’t be relied upon, former Yemeni deputy foreign minister Mustapha Noman told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Noman said Houthis possess elements of power that enable them to impose their conditions.

The government failed to create a model accepted by the people, and the Presidential Leadership Council has not been able to give people hope after 120 days in power due to lack of improvement in services and security, said Noman, adding that the situation must be swiftly dealt with.

Noman is not the only official to criticize the Council, a group of independent Yemenis who do not execute any governmental work.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Yemenis should realize the international and regional communities are preoccupied with other issues.

The current truce can be used to start serious talks about consultations or negotiations, said Noman, warning that the human tragedy produced by the prolonged war will increase, and the country will go into further divide.

A Yemeni source expressed similar remarks, saying Yemen needs first to secure the areas where the government and the Council operate.

He indicated that security should be a priority on the path to building a safe model for all Yemenis.

The formation of the joint security and military committee was at the forefront of the achievements, said the source, adding that presenting its vision of integrating the armed and security forces under a unified national administration may take a few months.

The source said that the only guarantee to move forward in building the model is to secure law enforcement, including anti-corruption officials, reform leaders, businessmen, and investors.

However, the source preferred to stress that the changes made by the Leadership Council in the government and the judiciary are related to the comprehensive trends to improve government administration, expand the base of partnership in decision-making and implementation, and rationalize it with all local, regional, and international forces and partners.

Improving the cabinet’s management, sharing expertise with the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and protecting the consensus among forces against the militias backed by the Iranian regime are outstanding achievements, said the source.



Egypt’s Presidential Candidates Reject Return of Muslim Brotherhood

An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
TT

Egypt’s Presidential Candidates Reject Return of Muslim Brotherhood

An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)

Days before the start of Egypt’s presidential elections, statements by the four candidates reflected identical positions summed up in their refusal to the return of the “banned” Muslim brotherhood group to political life.
The elections will be held inside Egypt next Sunday and for three days, while Egyptians abroad cast their ballot about a week ago.
Three candidates are running for the presidential race along with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who is seeking a third term that will last until 2030.
The candidates include Farid Zahran, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Abdel-Sanad Yamama, president of the Wafd Party, and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party.
The future of the Muslim Brotherhood raises widespread controversy in Egypt. Authorities have classified it as a “terrorist organization” following the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, who belonged to the group, in 2013.
In August 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt ruled to dissolve the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the organization.
Advisor Mahmoud Fawzi, head of Sisi’s electoral campaign, said there was no return to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s political scene.
In a televised interview, he noted that talks about the return of the Brotherhood had popular, political and legal dimensions.
“In the popular dimension, we all see that the Egyptians expressed their view of the Brotherhood in the revolution of June 30, 2013, and therefore the people’s opinion is clear”, Fawzi stated.
Regarding the political dimension, he said: “Anyone, whose hands are stained with the blood of Egyptians, is not welcome,” stressing that the legal dimension was clear, as the Brotherhood is classified as a terrorist group.
The other three candidates have expressed similar positions.
In a televised interview, Zahran affirmed that he would reject any role for the Brotherhood in political life if he gets elected as president.
Yamama, for his part, noted that there would be no reconciliation with the “terrorist group”, pointing to the need to “fight the Brotherhood’s ideology with democracy.”
The same stance was confirmed by Omar, who ruled out any rapprochement with the Brotherhood,” adding that the group “gambled with the future of the Egyptian people.”


US Embassy in Baghdad Attacked with Rockets, No Casualties

A file photo of the US embassy in Iraq on January 3, 2020. Ahmad Al-Rubaye, AFP
A file photo of the US embassy in Iraq on January 3, 2020. Ahmad Al-Rubaye, AFP
TT

US Embassy in Baghdad Attacked with Rockets, No Casualties

A file photo of the US embassy in Iraq on January 3, 2020. Ahmad Al-Rubaye, AFP
A file photo of the US embassy in Iraq on January 3, 2020. Ahmad Al-Rubaye, AFP

The US embassy in Baghdad was attacked with two salvos of rockets on Friday morning but there were no casualties, an embassy spokesperson said.
The attack was believed to have been carried out by Iran-aligned militias in Iraq, the spokesperson said. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
It was the first reported rocket attack against the embassy since an umbrella group of Iran-aligned Shi'ite Muslim militias initiated attacks against US forces on military bases in Iraq and neighboring Syria in mid-October, Reuters said.
The armed groups have linked more than 70 such attacks to Washington's backing of Israel in its devastating assault on Gaza.
"We again call on the Government of Iraq, as we have done on many occasions, to do all in its power to protect diplomatic and Coalition partner personnel and facilities," the embassy spokesperson said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani directed security agencies to pursue the perpetrators, describing them as "unruly, lawless groups that do not in any way represent the will of the Iraqi people," a statement from his office said.
He also said that undermining Iraq's stability, reputation and targeting places Iraq has committed to protect were acts of terrorism.
Explosions were heard near the embassy, in the center of Iraq's capital, at about 4 a.m. on Friday. Sirens calling on people to take cover were activated, according to social media videos from the scene.
Aside from its diplomatic staff in Iraq, the United States has about 2,500 troops in the country on a mission it says aims to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of ISIS group, which in 2014 seized large swathes of both countries before being defeated.
"We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defense and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world," the spokesperson said.
The UN mission in Iraq condemned the attack. "Iraq cannot afford to be drawn into a wider conflict, which would threaten hard-won stability and the achievements made so far," it said in a social media post.


Sudan Rejects US War Crimes Accusations against its Army

A 22-year-old Sudanese mother of two children speaks in a refugee camp in Chad about her exposure to sexual violence in West Darfur. (Archive: Reuters)
A 22-year-old Sudanese mother of two children speaks in a refugee camp in Chad about her exposure to sexual violence in West Darfur. (Archive: Reuters)
TT

Sudan Rejects US War Crimes Accusations against its Army

A 22-year-old Sudanese mother of two children speaks in a refugee camp in Chad about her exposure to sexual violence in West Darfur. (Archive: Reuters)
A 22-year-old Sudanese mother of two children speaks in a refugee camp in Chad about her exposure to sexual violence in West Darfur. (Archive: Reuters)

Sudan officially announced its rejection of the US State Department’s accusation of its army committing war crimes, and considered it “baseless.”
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that his country formally determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes.
He added that Washington also determined that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
“The expansion of the needless conflict between RSF and the SAF has caused grievous human suffering,” Blinken said, referring to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).
He called on the parties to “stop this conflict now, comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and hold accountable those responsible for atrocities.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the US move to accuse the “rebel militia” of committing crimes against humanity, including “crimes of ethnic cleansing, crimes of sexual violence, attacking and kidnapping women and girls, and targeting displaced persons and those fleeing the fighting.”
However, the ministry expressed its rejection of the US war crimes accusations against the Sudanese army, saying that they were baseless.
Those are “indiscriminate allegations that equate the armed forces with the rebel militia that is responsible for unleashing horrific violence, death and destruction... These practices are exclusive to the rebel militia... and accusing the armed forces of such actions is not based on any evidence,” the statement underlined.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the US statement ignored “the duty and right of the Armed Forces, the legitimate national army, to defend the country and the people and protect the headquarters of its leadership,” in the face of an “aggression targeting the foundations of life and the country’s sovereignty...”

 

 

 

 


US Criticizes Israel on Gaza Civilian Toll

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron hold a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, December 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron hold a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, December 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
TT

US Criticizes Israel on Gaza Civilian Toll

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron hold a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, December 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron hold a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, December 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his strongest public criticism of Israel's conduct of the war on Hamas in south Gaza, said there was a gap between the government's declared intentions to protect Palestinian civilians and the casualties.

"As we stand here almost a week into this campaign into the south... it remains imperative that Israel put a premium on civilian protection," Blinken told a press conference after meeting British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Washington on Thursday.

"And there does remain a gap between... the intent to protect civilians and the actual results that we're seeing on the ground."

Israel says it must wipe out Hamas after its attack on Israel two months ago and is doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm's way, including warnings about military operations.

A senior US State Department official said Blinken spoke earlier Thursday with Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer to say the US is pleased with new deliveries of fuel to Gaza but still wants to see those and other assistance deliveries increased.

At the same time, Blinken told Dermer that civilian casualties remain too high and that Israel must step up its efforts to reduce them, according to the official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss the private diplomatic discussion.

US President Joe Biden spoke separately by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah on Thursday.

Biden "emphasized the critical need to protect civilians and to separate the civilian population from Hamas including through corridors that allow people to move safely from defined areas of hostilities," the White House said.

More than 17,170 Palestinians have been killed and 46,000 wounded, according to the Gaza health ministry, since Oct. 7, when Israel began bombarding Gaza in response to a cross-border rampage by Hamas fighters. The Hamas attack killed 1,200 people, with 240 people taken hostage, according to Israel's tally.

The Israeli military on Friday said 92 of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza fighting since its ground incursions began on Oct. 20.


Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee, US Lawmakers Discuss Situation in Gaza

The committee called on the international community to take serious and immediate steps to ensure the delivery of emergency assistance to Gaza. SPA
The committee called on the international community to take serious and immediate steps to ensure the delivery of emergency assistance to Gaza. SPA
TT

Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee, US Lawmakers Discuss Situation in Gaza

The committee called on the international community to take serious and immediate steps to ensure the delivery of emergency assistance to Gaza. SPA
The committee called on the international community to take serious and immediate steps to ensure the delivery of emergency assistance to Gaza. SPA

Members of the Ministerial Committee, assigned by the Riyadh-hosted Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit, met Thursday with US lawmakers in Washington.

The meeting with members of the US House of Representatives and Senate was attended by Committee Chairman and Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and the Turkish Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan, who represented his country in the committee.

Meeting participants discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and its surroundings, the military escalation, and efforts exerted to impose an immediate ceasefire, protect civilians, and ensure application of international law and the international humanitarian law.

Members of the committee called on the international community to take serious and immediate steps to ensure the delivery of emergency humanitarian, food, and medical assistance into Gaza.

Members underscored the need for active roles of parliaments and civil-society organizations in urging governments to end the Israeli occupation authorities’ violations against the Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.

Committee members also stressed the importance of reviving the political track to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace following the ceasefire based on a two-state solution and the relevant international resolutions that can lead to realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinians in establishing their independent and sovereign state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Hamas Says Repelled Israeli Rescue Attempt, Hostage Killed

Members of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades. dpa
Members of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades. dpa
TT

Hamas Says Repelled Israeli Rescue Attempt, Hostage Killed

Members of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades. dpa
Members of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades. dpa

The armed wing of Hamas said on Friday it had repelled an attempted hostage rescue by Israeli special forces in the Gaza Strip, inflicting several military casualties, and that a captive also died in the incident.

The Israeli military, which freed a captive soldier in Gaza in late October and is waging a Gaza offensive designed in part to recover 138 remaining hostages, had no immediate comment.

In a statement distributed on Telegram, Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters discovered a special forces unit mounting a rescue attempt and attacked it, killing and wounding several soldiers. It did specify the location of the incident.

It said a captive Israeli soldier was killed, naming him as Sa'ar Baruch, 25. Lists of the hostages published by Israel identify one of them as Sahar Baruch, a civilian student who was 24 when he was seized from his home during the deadly Oct 7 cross-border Hamas rampage that sparked the war.


Israel, on Reuters Finding its Forces Killed Lebanon Journalist, Says Area a Combat Zone

Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
TT

Israel, on Reuters Finding its Forces Killed Lebanon Journalist, Says Area a Combat Zone

Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel on December 6, 2023. (AFP)

The Israeli military, responding on Friday to a Reuters investigation that determined its forces killed a Reuters journalist in southern Lebanon on Oct. 13, said the incident took place in an active combat zone and was under review.
Without directly addressing the death of Issam Abdallah, a military statement said that at the time Lebanese Hezbollah fighters had attacked across the border and Israeli forces opened fire to prevent a suspected armed infiltration, Reuters said.
"On Oct. 13, 2023, the terrorist organization Hezbollah launched an attack on multiple targets within Israeli territory along the Lebanese border," said the statement issued by the Israeli army.
"One incident involved the firing of an anti-tank missile, which struck the border fence near the village Hanita. Following the launch of the anti-tank missile, concerns arose over the potential infiltration of terrorists into Israeli territory.
"In response, the Israeli army used artillery and tank fire to prevent the infiltration. The Israeli army is aware of the claim that journalists who were in the area were killed.
"The area is an active combat zone, where active fire takes place and being in this area is dangerous. The incident is currently under review," the statement said.
The Reuters investigation found that an Israeli tank crew killed Abdallah, a visuals journalist, and wounded six reporters by firing two shells in quick succession from Israel while the journalists were filming cross-border shelling.
The two strikes killed Abdallah, 37, and severely wounded Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Christina Assi, 28, just over a kilometer from the Israeli border near the Lebanese village of Alma al-Chaab.


Civilians Injured in South Lebanon… 3 Hezbollah Members Killed

The funeral of a Hezbollah member killed in confrontations in the south (EPA)
The funeral of a Hezbollah member killed in confrontations in the south (EPA)
TT

Civilians Injured in South Lebanon… 3 Hezbollah Members Killed

The funeral of a Hezbollah member killed in confrontations in the south (EPA)
The funeral of a Hezbollah member killed in confrontations in the south (EPA)

Israel and Hezbollah continued to trade fire on Thursday while the Lebanese party said it carried out a number of attacks targeting military sites and several gatherings of Israeli soldiers.
Hezbollah mourned three of its members who were killed "while carrying out their jihadist duty," the party said in a statement.
However, it did not state that they were killed "on the road to Jerusalem," a phrase listed in their previous statements symbolizing their solidarity and support for Hamas in its conflict with Israel in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while visiting troops near the border with Lebanon, “If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war then it will by its own hand turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis.”
Several students were injured after Israeli shelling on Thursday struck an educational institution in the southern Lebanese town of Qunin.
As a result of the Israeli aggression against southern Lebanon between October 8 and December 5, the Lebanon Disaster Risk Management Unit said it registered 20,000 displaced people from villages in Tyre district, south Lebanon, Lebanon state-run NNA news said.
Thousands were displaced to other areas and were not registered within the Disaster Risk Management Unit, NNA added.
The unit spoke about a lack of resources to provide services, saying nearly 40 villages on the border with Israel are still not safe for civilians to return.
Later in separate statements, Hezbollah said its fighters targeted the Bayad Blida and Al-Jerdah areas, in addition to several gatherings of Israeli soldiers near the Mitat barracks and the Jal Al-Allam site.
Hezbollah said that among the 11 attacks carried out on Thursday, the party targeted Al-Marj Site and Ramim Forest in the occupied Lebanese Hounin village, in addition to an Israeli barracks in Matat, a village abutting the Lebanese border.
Villages adjacent to the Blue Line in the western and central sectors experienced a cautious calm at night on Wednesday, disturbed by flare bombs, reconnaissance flights, and a shell that landed in the sea off the Bab Al-Tem area in the locality of Qassimiya.
In Marjayoun, NNA said one person was wounded by Israeli shelling that targeted the Tallet Hamames in Serda.
The man was transferred to the Marjayoun Governmental Hospital. NNA’s correspondent also reported that the Marjayoun plain was subject to Israeli artillery shelling on Thursday.
Meanwhile, an Israeli civilian was killed after Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile from the Lebanese border Thursday.
In response, the Israeli Army said it struck the source of the fire with attack helicopters, tanks, and artillery.


UN: More than 12,000 Killed in Sudan War

A camp for Sudanese refugees in Chad (Reuters)
A camp for Sudanese refugees in Chad (Reuters)
TT

UN: More than 12,000 Killed in Sudan War

A camp for Sudanese refugees in Chad (Reuters)
A camp for Sudanese refugees in Chad (Reuters)

The United Nations announced Thursday that more than 12,000 people have been killed since fighting between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in mid-April, saying the country is now facing the largest child displacement crisis in the world.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report that an estimated 6.6 million people have fled their homes, taking refuge inside and outside the country, with children representing about half of the people displaced.
“Sudan is now the country with the largest number of displaced people and the largest child displacement crisis in the world,” it noted.
The report also said that the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project website (ACLED) estimates that more than 12,190 people have been killed since the fighting broke out in April, including 1,300 people who were killed between 28 October and 24 November.
Compared to the previous four weeks, the website recorded a 10 percent decrease in battles and a 38 percent decrease in explosions and remote violence in Sudan.
According to the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), over 700 people detained by RSF, many of whom are children, have yet to be released. The condition of the detainees is reported to be dire.
HAC also noted that between April and 15 October, international humanitarian partners reached about 4.5 million people with life-saving assistance.
Humanitarian organizations operating in Sudan require $2.6 billion to provide life-saving multi-cluster and protection assistance to 18.1 million people in desperate need through the end of this year.
The appeal is only 38.6 percent funded, with $989.3 million received as of 7 December, according to the Financial Tracking Service.
Humanitarian Response
In a related development, head of the Peace Commission and Rapporteur of the Supreme Peace Council, Suleiman Mohamed al-Dabello, said on Thursday that the impact of the war and its effects on the displaced people have put great pressure at the health and educational levels in cities and villages across the country, stressing the need to provide essential services to Sudan.
Speaking at a forum on humanitarian response operations in the city of Port Sudan, al-Dabello stressed the need for strict adherence to the laws and regulations governing humanitarian work among all parties working in this field.
He said the forum reaffirms the government's commitment to all laws and agreements signed with agencies and humanitarian organizations.
Shelling in Khartoum
At the field level, the Sudanese Army and the RSF traded fire in several areas of the capital. Eyewitnesses said they heard the sound of violent and successive artillery shelling in areas located east of Khartoum.
They said the Sudanese army, positioned in the Wadi Seidna military base in north Omdurman, shelled a number of RSF positions in various districts of the city.
Local sources in Khartoum said bombs fell in the Jarif West district of Sudan's capital, destroying a number of houses without causing any casualties. However, they said, the shelling caused panic among citizens.


UN Security Council to Consider Urging Gaza Ceasefire

An empty UN Security Council chamber is seen in January 2018. Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
An empty UN Security Council chamber is seen in January 2018. Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
TT

UN Security Council to Consider Urging Gaza Ceasefire

An empty UN Security Council chamber is seen in January 2018. Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
An empty UN Security Council chamber is seen in January 2018. Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

The UN Security Council meets on Gaza Friday under acute pressure from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and will vote on urging an immediate ceasefire after weeks of ruinous war.
Even though the civilian death toll in the Palestinian territory is mounting and living conditions are described as catastrophic amid Israel's bombardment, the outcome of the session is up in the air, said AFP.
In a letter to the council on Wednesday, Guterres took the extraordinary step of invoking the UN charter's Article 99, which states that the secretary-general may bring to the attention of the council "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
No one in his job had done this in decades.
Guterres wrote: "Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defense Forces, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible."
He called for a "humanitarian ceasefire" to prevent "a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians" and the entire Middle East.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed hope that the council will heed Guterres' urgent appeal.
Dujarric said that since Wednesday the UN chief has spoken with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and their counterparts from several other countries.
'Catastrophic'
Israel has been pressing for the destruction of Hamas over the October 7 attack, when militants broke through Gaza's border, killing around 1,200 people and seizing hostages, 138 of whom remain captive, according to Israeli figures.
The bloodiest ever war between Israel and Hamas is now in its third month, with the death toll in Gaza soaring above 17,000, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Israel's relentless bombardment and shelling has reduced much of Gaza to rubble.
Israel is severely restricting the entry of food, water, fuel and medicine, and 1.8 million people (80 percent of Gaza's population) have been forced to leave home to escape Israeli attacks.
After Guterres sent his urgent letter, the United Arab Emirates prepared a draft resolution that will be put to a vote on Friday, said the delegation from Ecuador, which chairs the council this month and thus decides on scheduling issues.
The latest version of this document seen Thursday by AFP calls the humanitarian situation in Gaza "catastrophic" and "demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire."
The short text also calls for protection of civilians, the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages Hamas is still holding, and humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip.
But the outcome of a vote is not clear -- four earlier drafts presented since the war broke out were rejected by the Security Council.
The council finally managed to speak out on the war in mid-November as it approved a resolution calling for "humanitarian pauses and corridors" in Gaza -- not a ceasefire.
The United States, Israel's most powerful ally, which vetoed one of the earlier draft resolutions and rejects the idea of a ceasefire, has said a new resolution from the council at this stage would not be "useful."
"Our position hasn't changed," said the deputy US ambassador, Robert Wood.
"We again think that the best thing that we can do, all of us, for the situation on the ground, is to let the quiet behind-the-scene diplomacy that is going continue," Wood said.
Agnes Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said "the US and all other members of the UN Security Council have a clear obligation under international law to prevent atrocities."
"There can be no justification for continuing to block meaningful action by the UN Security Council to stop massive civilian bloodshed, the complete collapse of the humanitarian system, and even worse horrors resulting from the breakdown of public order and massive displacement," she added.
The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said "we sincerely hope that the Security Council will adopt that resolution and will listen to brave, courageous, principled position of the secretary-general."
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Wednesday said Guterres' tenure was "a danger to world peace" after he invoked Article 99.