American-Proposed UN Security Council Resolution Would Undermine Israel’s War Strategy Against Hamas

The American draft resolution calls for a cease-fire in exchange for the release of all hostages, to take effect ‘as soon as practicable.’ The resolution would act to bar a military operation at Rafah, where the terrorist organization’s last battalions are holed up.

AP/Yuki Iwamura
The UN Security Council meets at United Nations headquarters, January 23, 2024. AP/Yuki Iwamura

Undermining Israel’s strategy in its effort to end Hamas’s control over Gaza, the Biden administration is proposing a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would act to bar a military operation at Rafah, where the last four of the terrorist organization’s battalions are holed up. 

The American UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, threatened on Sunday to veto a competing resolution proposal, circulated to council members by Algeria, which demanded an immediate Gaza cease-fire. The American draft resolution, which was distributed to some council members Monday afternoon, instead calls for a cease-fire in exchange for the release of all hostages, to take effect “as soon as practicable.”

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages. 

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah 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, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

Under Washington’s pressure, the IDF has developed a plan for removing civilians from Rafah into temporary camps in empty areas inside the Strip. Military observers in Israel estimate that the plan could be executed within the next four weeks, after which the IDF would be able to enter the town and work to defeat the remainder of Hamas’s military force. 

Either way, Israel is determined to realize the goal it vowed to achieve after the October 7 terrorist invasion, including by conquering Hamas at Rafah. “Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us, ‘Lose the war,’” Prime Minister Netanyahu said during a press conference on Saturday. “I won’t let that happen,” and Israel “won’t capitulate to any pressure.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s political rival, Benny Gantz, who currently shares a unity government with him, added that “if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, including the Rafah area.” The month-long Ramadan, during which Muslims are called to fast during daytime, will begin around March 9. 

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Hamas has vowed to repeat atrocities akin to the October 7 invasion into Israeli towns near the Gaza border, and citizens who were evacuated after their homes were burned down there say they would not return until the area is determined safe from future invasion.   

According to the American proposal, the council “rejects any actions by any party that reduce the territory of Gaza, on a temporary or permanent basis, including through the establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones, as well as the widespread, systematic demolition of civilian infrastructure.”

The four-page resolution proposal also warns against harm to UN employees, even as it expresses support for Secretary-General Guterres’s so-called independent commission to investigate the participation of some employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency in the October 7 invasion. Israel recently exposed a major command tunnel that was dug directly under Unrwa’s headquarters.

The New York Sun

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