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US Urges UN To Support Temporary Gaza Ceasefire, Opposes Israeli Ground Offensive In Rafah

The United States has put forward an alternative draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, proposing a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict and expressing opposition to a significant ground offensive by Israel in Rafah.

This development follows the US’s indication that it would veto an Algerian-drafted resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, citing concerns about potential disruptions to ongoing talks involving the US, Egypt, Israel, and Qatar aimed at brokering a pause in the conflict and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Contrary to its previous stance against using the word ‘ceasefire’ in any UN action on the ongoing war, the U.S. draft resolution aligns with language used by President Joe Biden in recent discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The proposed resolution wants the UNSC to “underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and calls for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.”

A senior US administration official, speaking anonymously, stated on Monday that the United States does not intend to hastily proceed to a vote and aims to allow time for negotiations.

To be adopted, a resolution requires at least nine affirmative votes and no vetoes from the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, or China.

The US draft text asserts that, given the current circumstances, a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians, their displacement, and potentially spill into neighbouring countries. Expressing concern over Israel’s plan to storm Rafah, where over 1 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians have sought refuge, the resolution emphasizes that such a move would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and thus, a major ground offensive should not proceed under the present conditions.

While the US traditionally shields Israel from UN action, having twice vetoed resolutions since the October 7 attack by Hamas militants, it has also abstained twice, enabling the adoption of resolutions supporting increased aid to Gaza and calling for extended pauses in fighting.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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