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Israel on Monday vowed to persist with its military operation in Gaza, rejecting what it called “meaningless” negotiations with Hamas, shortly after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) overwhelmingly approved a US-drafted ceasefire plan aimed at ending the eight-month conflict.


Israel’s senior diplomat to the UN, Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, emphasized during a UNSC meeting that Israel’s primary goal is to “ensure that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel in the future.” She stated that the war would continue until all hostages were returned and Hamas’ capabilities were dismantled, accusing the Palestinian militant group of using negotiations as a stalling tactic.

UNSC Endorses US-Drafted Peace Plan

The UNSC’s adoption of the US-drafted resolution marks a significant international effort to bring an end to the hostilities that have ravaged Gaza. Fourteen out of the fifteen council members voted in favor of the resolution, with only Russia abstaining. Israel, not being a UNSC member, did not participate in the vote.

The peace plan, first introduced by US President Joe Biden on May 31, is a comprehensive three-stage deal designed to lead to the eventual release of all hostages in exchange for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

This historic vote aligns the UNSC with other major global bodies in supporting the US proposal, thereby increasing international pressure on both Hamas and Israel to halt the conflict.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, articulated that the US, alongside Egypt and Qatar, would ensure compliance with the plan’s provisions from both Israel and Hamas. “The fighting could stop today if Hamas agreed to the deal,” she said, underscoring the potential for immediate cessation of violence.

Reactions from Israel and Hamas

Despite the international backing for the resolution, Israel’s public stance remains one of defiance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that the war would not end until Hamas is decisively defeated. This sentiment was echoed by Ben-Naftaly, who accused Hamas of utilizing negotiations to gain time and maintain their operational capabilities.

In contrast, Hamas welcomed the UNSC resolution, expressing readiness to engage with mediators to implement key measures, including the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, a prisoner exchange, and the return of displaced residents.

Hamas also emphasized its rejection of any demographic changes or territorial reductions in Gaza as outlined in the resolution.

The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, hailed the resolution as a “step in the right direction” but placed the onus on Israel to implement the measures.

“We want a ceasefire,” Mansour declared, stressing that the burden lies with Israel to honor the resolution and halt what he described as a “war of genocide” against the Palestinian people.

US Diplomacy and Ongoing Challenges

In the wake of the UNSC vote, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been actively engaging with Israeli officials to garner support for the ceasefire plan. Blinken met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, highlighting that the proposal could pave the way for calm along Israel’s northern border and further regional integration.

Additionally, Blinken commended Israel’s purported readiness to conclude a deal during his conversation with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, although public statements from Netanyahu suggest otherwise.

The diplomatic push comes amid significant internal and external pressures on Netanyahu. The resignation of Benny Gantz from the Israeli war cabinet on Sunday has intensified calls from Western allies and the families of hostages for an end to the war.

Despite eight months of conflict, Israel has yet to achieve its objectives, with Hamas’ leadership largely remaining at large and approximately 120 hostages still in captivity.

The humanitarian toll has been devastating, with the Ministry of Health in Gaza reporting over 37,000 deaths since the war began, a figure that includes both fighters and civilians, though the exact breakdown remains unverified.

The conflict has left many still missing or buried under rubble, adding to the urgency for a resolution.

As detailed negotiations to implement the UNSC resolution continue, the path to peace remains fraught with challenges, with both Israel and Hamas holding firm to their respective demands.

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