US puts forward draft UN resolution for an ‘immediate and sustained’ ceasefire in Gaza

The United States has drafted a resolution for the United Nations Security Council calling for an “immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war, a new report reveals.

A copy of the resolution, obtained by the Associated Press, was in its fifth version as of late Thursday evening and in a form that members can vote on. The US circulated the first draft last month, just one day before they vetoed a Security Council resolution that would demand an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire.” The US was the only country in the 15-member body that voted no on the widely supported resolution in February, while the United Kingdom abstained.

The latest draft of the US resolution, as of Thursday, “unequivocally supports international diplomatic efforts to establish an immediate and sustained cease-fire as part of a deal that releases the hostages, and that allows the basis for a more durable peace to alleviate humanitarian suffering,” the AP reports. The initial draft used the phrase “temporary,” which has now been removed, according to the AP. The draft, however, is still subject to change.

The initial February draft also stated the Israeli offensive into the city of Rafah, where some 1.4 million Palestinians are taking refuge, “should not proceed under current circumstances.” Since 7 October, more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Two-thirds of those killed were women and children, the ministry reports.

Now, this week’s latest draft states that Israel Defense Forces invading Rafah “would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement, potentially into neighboring countries, and would have serious implications for regional peace and security,” according to the AP.

US Ambassador the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield raises her hand at a February meeting, vetoing a ceasefire resolution (AFP via Getty Images)
US Ambassador the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield raises her hand at a February meeting, vetoing a ceasefire resolution (AFP via Getty Images)

The resolution also condemns Hamas’ attacks on Israel 7 October, in which about 1,200 people were killed and 200 people were taken hostage, the AP reports. The draft also demands Hamas and other armed groups immediately grant humanitarian access to all Israeli hostages still in Gaza.

Late on Wednesday, just hours before the US released its latest draft, news broke that the IDF had struck a United Nations facility in Rafah, killing an aid worker and injuring civilians. White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said the administration is “deeply concerned” in response.

Earlier, President Joe Biden also said he would consider conditioning US aid to Israel should the IDF move forward with their invasion into Rafah. In his State of the Union address earlier this month, the President also said US forces were under orders to construct an emergency port for aid on the coast of Gaza. However, Pentagon officials said the project could take two months, while the United Nations warns of an imminent, widespread famine in Gaza.

Meanwhile, only a handful of US lawmakers have called for a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. But in a speech on Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in US history, called for a change in Israeli government, signalling that Democrats are splitting on the US response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Even before Mr Schumer’s speech, a handful of Democrats condemned the Biden administration’s decision to send weapons to Israel. Two Democrats, one a current Senator and one a retired Senator, have even claimed that aid to Israel breaks US foreign aid laws, on account of “the number of civilians who are being injured or killed by US paid armaments.”