Will Biden abandon Netanyahu because of his intransigence and inflexibility in his position on the Gaza war?

The UN building in New York (by Adobe).

Washington is finalising a UN security council resolution to support global efforts to end the Gaza war. The draft rejects any displacement of the population from Gaza. A ceasefire, hostages' release, and humanitarian aid are among Washington's demands, writes Ahmad Abdul-Rahman from Egypt.

More than five months have passed since the war in Gaza started and the suffering of the Palestinians is increasing every day. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and his government are ignoring global calls for a ceasefire and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the besieged Gaza Strip. The Israeli prime minister's intransigence prompted his closest allies to change their tone. This was evident in a draft resolution adopted by the US and scheduled to be presented to the UN security council. This is after Washington itself opposed a ceasefire and used its veto several times in favour of Israel.

The US has finished putting the final touches on a draft resolution that it will submit to the UN security council regarding the Gaza war, according to the Associated Press, This is the last step before requesting a vote on the text supporting international efforts for an immediate ceasefire and the release of detained hostages.

The final draft of the resolution states: "We unequivocally support international diplomatic efforts to implement an immediate and sustainable ceasefire within the framework of an agreement to release the hostages and to allow the promotion of lasting peace to alleviate human suffering."

It was not immediately clear when the US would ask the 15-nation UN security council to vote on the text that was negotiated last month. The resolution needs the support of at least nine countries and no vetoes from the US, France, Britain, Russia, or China in order for it to be adopted. The US may make additional amendments to the draft resolution.

The United States wants to link any UN security council support for a ceasefire to the release of hostages held by Hamas. In the draft resolution, Washington also condemns Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and stresses its fears that the Israeli ground attack on Rafeh in southern Gaza will lead to further harm and displacement of civilians, including to neighbouring countries.

Washington had previously opposed the use of the term ceasefire, and during the war that has been going on for more than five months, Washington used its veto to reject three draft resolutions, including two that called for an immediate ceasefire. Washington usually protects Israel at the UN, but it has abstained twice from voting. In fact, the UN security council was allowed to adopt resolutions aimed at strengthening the delivery of aid to Gaza amid calls for the imposition of extended truces in the fighting.

Diplomatic talks have faltered since efforts failed to reach a ceasefire before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, an unofficial deadline that has passed without any agreement. The Israeli military recently announced that it would go ahead with its planned offensive in the southern city of Rafeh — where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought safety — and plans to move civilians toward "humanitarian safe havens" in the centre of the area.

According to the US agency, the initial draft of the document was supposed to emphasise that a temporary ceasefire must be agreed to immediately but it requires the release of all hostages. The draft also calls for the lifting of all restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid. The agency added that both measures would help create conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.

The initial draft said that the planned major Israeli ground offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafeh "should not continue under the current circumstances". That language disappeared in the final draft. Instead, in an introductory paragraph, the UN Security Council emphasises its concern that a ground attack on Rafeh will lead to further civilian harm and displacement, possibly to neighbouring countries. This will have serious consequences for regional peace and security, the draft says.

The US draft resolution calls on all parties to comply with international law that requires the protection of civilians and civilian facilities, including hospitals, schools and homes. The draft will also express the UN Security Council's deep concern about the risk of famine and conflict-induced epidemics facing the civilian population of Gaza, as well as the number of people suffering from under-nutrition and catastrophic levels of hunger.

The UN security council will reiterate its call for the full, immediate, safe, sustainable and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance on a large scale and directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout Gaza. This should be facilitated using all available methods, including border crossings, the draft says.

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Friday, 19 April 2024