US Joins Cease-Fire Talks On Gaza

United Nations Security Council resolution rejecting a massive ground attack by Israel in Rafah and asking for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict has been sponsored by the United States. This came after the United States said it would reject a resolution proposed by Algeria that called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire. The United States is worried that this resolution might derail the peace negotiations among Egypt, Israel, Qatar, and the United States, which aim to end the fighting and free hostages held by Hamas.

The United States wording is a carbon copy of President Joe Biden’s statement to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week. The United States is proposing a resolution that would have the Security Council support a temporary cease-fire in Gaza with all hostages being released and calls for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance.

With no US, France, Britain, Russia, or China vetoes, a resolution requires nine votes to pass. Based on the existing situation, the U.S. draft document concludes that launching a large-scale ground attack into Rafah would cause more damage to civilians and force them to flee, maybe even to neighboring nations. The world community is very concerned that Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah, a refuge for over one million of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, would significantly exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

Washington has now offered a resolution on Gaza to the Security Council twice since October 7. China and Russia blocked its first effort in late October. Richard Gowan, director of the International Crisis Group at the United Nations, said that Israel would be more worried by the language the United States wrote, even though the United States was prepared to reject the resolution proposed by Algeria on Tuesday.

The proposed U.S. language would denounce any effort to alter Gaza’s demographics or territory in a way that would be illegal under international law and would denounce the demands of some ministers in the Israeli government for Jewish settlers to relocate to Gaza. It would also deny any attempt by any side to shrink Gaza’s landmass, whether it be temporarily or permanently, by measures like the official or unofficial creation of buffer zones or the systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure.