UN resolution on Gaza circulated

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Jordan has circulated a revised UN resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and condemning “all violence and hostilities against civilians”.

Its new UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said the draft resolution, backed by the Palestinians and Arab nations, was submitted to the Security Council in a form that could be put to a vote.

She said Jordan is “very happy” with the 72-hour ceasefire announced late on Monday and its main purpose in the resolution is to make the cessation of hostilities permanent and have it lead to a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and reconstruction of Gaza.

“We are in consultation with all council members and we hope by the next day or two that we come with a product,” she said.

Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said council ambassadors will meet later today to discuss the new draft.

The revised resolution is likely to face an uphill struggle to win approval from the US, Israel’s closest ally and a veto-wielding council member, especially because it makes no mention of Hamas or its rocketing of Israel.

The draft urges support for the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, calls for “the sustained reopening” of crossing points into the Gaza Strip, and calls on the UN to establish “a mechanism” to monitor implementation of a ceasefire agreement and report on any violations.

It expresses “grave concern” at the heavy casualties and displacement of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and calls for the protection of civilians, including an end to military reprisals, collective punishment and the excessive use of force against the Palestinian civilian population.

The resolution is not drafted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which is militarily enforceable, and calls for – rather than demands – “an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire and the full and immediate withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip”.

Israel said it withdrew the last of its ground forces from Gaza yesterday as it began the 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas.

In an open letter to the Security Council, the International Federation for Human Rights, representing 178 organisations from nearly 120 countries, condemned the firing of rockets into Israel but said the Israeli army’s operations in response “constitute war crimes” and may amount to crimes against humanity.

It called on the council to adopt a resolution backing deployment of “an international interposition force” to end the worsening humanitarian crisis and ensure the protection of civilians in Gaza.

The federation said a resolution should also support prompt Israeli and Palestinian investigations into allegations of grave human rights violations, an International Commission of Inquiry to be appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, and a referral of “the situation in Gaza” to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

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