Arab U.N. draft resolution backs Egypt's bid for Gaza ceasefire

Members of the Security Council watch U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on a screen while they attend a meeting about the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine, at United Nations headquarters in New York. (Reuters)

Jordan circulated late Tuesday a 10-point draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council supporting Egypt’s initiative for a ceasefire following 16 days of an Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

The draft resolution, obtained by Al Arabiya’s New York bureau chief Talal Alhaj, welcomes “the initiative presented by Egypt on 14 July 2014 for a ceasefire” and urged “all concerned regional and international parties to support these efforts towards establishing calm.”

Egypt's ceasefire proposal quickly fell apart last week when Israel accepted it but was met by rejection by Islamist militant group Hamas.

Hamas on Wednesday conditioned a ceasefire deal with Israel to the lifting of the blockade that has been in place on the Palestinian enclave for the past eight years.

On Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said he was ready to accept a humanitarian truce in Gaza, but would not agree to a full ceasefire until the terms had been negotiated.

Speaking at a news conference in Qatar, Meshaal said Hamas "will not close the door" to a humanitarian truce if Israel ended its siege of Gaza.

The draft resolution also "condemned all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism," and called "for immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, including the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip."

It also called for the lifting of Israeli restrictions “imposed on the movement of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip and for sustained reopening of the crossing points in Gaza Strip on the basis of the 2005 agreement on movement and access in accordance with resolution 1960 [2009]."

It also criticized the “collective punishment and excessive use of force against the Palestinian civilian population.”

It is uncertain whether the 15-member Security Council will accept the resolution but in 2009 a similar draft resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favor.

Israel's ally, Washington, abstained because it needed to see the outcome of Egyptian mediation efforts at the time.

The latest Israeli military offensive on Gaza has so far killed more than 640 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

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