CNN

US proposes a ‘temporary ceasefire’ in Gaza in draft UN resolution

Feb 20, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: 9:58 am

Members of the Palestinian civil defense extinguish a fire in a building in the east of Rafah, the ...

Members of the Palestinian civil defense extinguish a fire in a building in the east of Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, Monday, February 19.(Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

(Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

New York (CNN) — The United States has proposed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Gaza calling for a temporary ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas and warning against an Israeli ground incursion into Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have fled over the course of the conflict.

The US draft comes after it had vowed to veto an Algerian draft proposal calling for an immediate ceasefire. The Council will vote on the Algerian draft Tuesday morning.

According to the text of the US-proposed draft, which CNN has seen, the US is calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable,” which falls short of the wishes of most other Security Council members who want an immediate ceasefire.

The US, which has traditionally protected its ally Israel from UN actions, has repeatedly resisted calls for a “ceasefire,” emphasizing what it claims is Israel’s right to defend itself following Hamas’ terror attack on October 7. It has also voted against at least two Security Council resolutions on the war.

“We do not plan to rush to a vote,” a senior US official said, adding that the administration does “not believe the Council has to take urgent action” with a deadline for a vote. The US resolution “underscores its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.”

The US, they said, will redouble efforts to negotiate on the ground.

On Friday, President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House that he’s had “extensive conversations” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the last several days where he relayed his position “that there has to be a temporary ceasefire” to secure the safe release of hostages still held by Hamas.

The US draft warns of the effects of an Israeli ground offensive into Rafah, saying it would “result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security.”

Despite international pressure, Israel has said it plans to expand its ground operations into Rafah as part of its goal to destroy Hamas after the October 7 attacks. Many fear that military action in the refugee tent city could spark an exodus and result in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

The Biden administration has grown more vocal in expressing concerns over how Israel is conducting the war. Last week, Biden told Netanyahu that the military action “should not proceed,” according to a readout of their call.

The US draft, which also calls for the release of Israeli hostages, will be privately discussed on Tuesday. It is unclear when it will be put to a vote, which will need more than nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the permanent members to pass.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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US proposes a ‘temporary ceasefire’ in Gaza in draft UN resolution