US circulates Gaza truce resolution at UN, but Israel privately objects


The United States has circulated a revised Security Council draft resolution that says a permanent cease-fire in the Gaza must be agreed to by Israel and Hamas.

It also spells out a three-phase plan to end the eight-month war and start the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip that it says Israel has accepted and calls on Hamas to accept.

In exchange for the agreement by both parties to a permanent cease-fire, the plan says all Israeli hostages in Gaza will be released and all Israeli forces will withdraw from Gaza.

But Israel is privately objecting to its close ally’s latest attempt to stop the war.

An Israeli official told The Associated Press that the language overlooks Israel’s stated aim of destroying Hamas as a military force. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussion.

Because Israel believes that Hamas will engage in future military attacks, it is wary of signing a document that specifically stipulates a cease-fire, the official said. That language has a more permanent implication than a “cessation of hostilities,” which has also been mentioned in draft discussions.

Israel also objects to proposed language that “rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip.”

That includes “actions that reduce the territory of Gaza, such as through the permanent establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones,” which Israel has already said it plans.

Far-right members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have threatened to bring down the coalition if he signs onto a cease-fire deal.

Egyptian and Qatari mediators have told top Biden administration officials in the Middle East that they expect Hamas will submit its formal response to the latest hostage and cease-fire offer in the coming days, according to a U.S. official.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said ongoing talks in Doha and Cairo have been constructive, but that Hamas has still not delivered its formal response to the three-phase deal that President Joe Biden outlined last week.

Hamas has said it viewed the offer “positively” and called on Israel to declare an explicit commitment to the agreement.

More than a dozen countries joined the U.S. in a statement Thursday to show support for the proposed deal.

The statement was signed by the leaders of Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

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