newsIsrael at War

France’s UNSC resolution includes open-ended ceasefire, condemnation of Hamas

The draft resolution's mention of the council’s intent to grant Palestinians full U.N. membership is likely a bridge too far for Washington.

The U.N. Security Council adopts Resolution 2728 in a 14-0 vote, with the U.S. abstaining, demanding an immediate ceasefire to Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan, March 25, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.
The U.N. Security Council adopts Resolution 2728 in a 14-0 vote, with the U.S. abstaining, demanding an immediate ceasefire to Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan, March 25, 2024. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.

France is circulating a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council that calls for an immediate ceasefire, with no end date, in the Israel-Hamas war, while demanding the release of all remaining hostages in Gaza.

Notably, the resolution condemns Hamas by name for its Oct. 7 invasion of Israel and condemns the sexual violence it and other terror groups employed during the massacre.

Israel has railed for months against the Security Council and the United Nations for failing to explicitly condemn Hamas or acknowledge the evidence of sexual violence committed on Oct. 7.

The draft resolution also calls for the reassertion of Palestinian Authority governance in Gaza, along with the achievement of a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian political solution “urgently through decisive and irreversible measures,” leading to a two-state solution.

While not in the operative portion of the draft, the preambular section notes that 139 U.N. member states have recognized a Palestinian state, and expresses the “intent” of the council “to welcome the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.”

The P.A. in recent weeks announced a renewed push for statehood recognition at the United Nations. A ministerial-level meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian file is set to take place at the Security Council on Apr. 18, which, according to multiple JNS sources, appears to be the P.A.’s target date for a full membership vote.

The Palestinians currently hold U.N. non-member observer status. 

“The ongoing crisis has shown that a negotiated solution should be achieved urgently through decisive and irreversible measures toward a two-state solution,” Nicolas de Riviere, France’s U.N. ambassador, told reporters on Monday. “France believes that it’s now high time to adopt a comprehensive approach in order to end the ongoing crisis in Gaza, allow deescalation in the region and to ensure that no Oct. 7 can ever happen again.”

The Israeli mission to the United Nations told JNS that discussions on France’s proposal only began in earnest on Monday afternoon during closed consultations at the Security Council, and that it knows of no timeline for a vote on it.

The United States on March 25 abstained on a draft resolution which demanded an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan. The draft demanded in the same paragraph the release of the hostages, but did not link the two demands. Neither Israel nor Hamas has abided by the terms.

The Israeli government read it as a change in U.S. policy, as Washington had previously vetoed several resolutions which demanded Israel halt its counteroffensive against Hamas in Gaza. The abstention, which allowed the resolution to pass, led to the cancellation by Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a high-level delegation to Washington to discuss Israel’s upcoming operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah to root out Hamas from its last stronghold in the enclave.

In the ensuing days Netanyahu softened his language regarding the incident, with a virtual delegation discussion taking place on Monday. The White House said on Monday it anticipates in-person meetings on the topic next week.

France’s draft resolution appears to be an attempt to thread the needle within the council by, on the one hand, calling for the ceasefire that most all council members are demanding, while on the other trying to bring the United States on board via condemning Hamas.

However, the preambular mention of Palestinian statehood, along with the operative section’s effective call for a permanent ceasefire may be too much for Washington, given the congressional blowback it is likely to cause and the wide-ranging implications it could have in the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.  

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, said last week ahead of the draft resolution’s introduction that France’s general proposal “plays into Hamas’s hands and rewards terrorism,” following signals from French diplomats about the resolution’s purpose and aims.

The resolution “breaks all the principles of negotiations and advances unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said, adding that Israel will “strongly oppose this terrible proposal.”

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