The Foreign Ministry has advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to initiate the drafting of a United Nations Security Council resolution on the terms for ending the war in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday.
He said the ministry believes such a move would minimize Hamas’ international legitimacy and advance Israeli interests, such as disarming Gaza and returning the Palestinian Authority to the Strip.
The ministry’s director general, Nissim Ben Shetrit, sent a document to National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen last week in which he proposed a “diplomatic exit plan” from the conflict in Gaza. The document was drafted by a ministry task force comprised of representatives from the diplomatic planning department, the international affairs department and the political research department. The senior official said the document was sent to Netanyahu for his perusal.
In the document, the ministry proposed an Israeli diplomatic initiative to end the fighting via a Security Council resolution, similar to the way the Second Lebanon War of 2006 was ended. Resolution 1701, which ended that war, called for southern Lebanon to be disarmed of all rockets and heavy weaponry, stated that the Lebanese army, which answers to the government in Beirut, would be the only legal military force south of the Litani River, and significantly expanded UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
The ministry suggested two ways of advancing a similar Security Council resolution on Gaza. The first is to reach an agreement on Gaza with several countries that have interests in common with Israel, such as Egypt, the United States, the major European countries and the Palestinian Authority, and then bring it to the Security Council for approval. This is similar to how the agreement to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons was reached.
The second option is simply to draft a Security Council resolution together with the United States, Britain, France and other friendly council members.
The Israeli official said the Foreign Ministry believes that if Israel initiates such a move and acts in coordination with the U.S., Egypt and the PA, it can advance several of its diplomatic interests: first, setting up an international mechanism to disarm Gaza and supervise the entry of building materials, money and arms into the Strip; second, returning the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and stationing security forces loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the border crossings; and third, strengthening the alliance with Egypt.
The idea of using a Security Council resolution to end the war in Gaza was raised by several ministers during meetings of the diplomatic-security cabinet, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is also studying this idea as one possible way of ending the war. Ya’alon believes that if efforts to reach a cease-fire via Egyptian mediation fail, America should take the lead in passing a Security Council resolution.