EU States and U.S. Pursue UN Resolution to End Israel-Gaza Fighting

Haaretz reveals document in which Germany, France and Britain seek return of Gaza to Palestinian Authority control, lifting of restrictions, international supervision and restart of peace talks based on '67 borders.

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Barak Ravid
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (on screen) addresses the Security Council about the situation in Gaza on a video link from Ramallah, West Bank, July 22, 2014.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (on screen) addresses the Security Council about the situation in Gaza on a video link from Ramallah, West Bank, July 22, 2014.Credit: AFP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Germany, France and Britain have begun working on a UN Security Council resolution that would end the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, they circulated a document to diplomats at UN headquarters in New York outlining the elements they thought such a resolution should contain. These include returning Gaza to the Palestinian Authority’s control, reconstructing the Strip under international supervision to prevent Hamas from rearming, and restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.

The two-page document, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, bears the laconic title “Elements.”

On Friday, diplomats said the U.S. joined the initiative.

Both senior Israeli officials and European diplomats — all of whom requested to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue — said German, French and British officials briefed top Israeli figures on the draft but did not give them a copy. Jerusalem obtained the document through other diplomatic channels.

The document proposes that the resolution condemn “all violence and hostilities directed against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks resulting in civilian casualties, and all acts of terrorism.” The resolution should also call for an “immediate, sustainable” cease-fire that would include an end to all rocket fire from Gaza and all offensive military operations in Gaza, it said. This cease-fire would be based on the following principles:

* The return of control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.

* Security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities.

* The prohibition of the sale or supply of all weapons and munitions to the Gaza Strip, unless authorized by the PA.

* A commitment to prevent the financing of terrorism.

* The lifting of “economic and humanitarian restrictions” on the Gaza Strip in order to enable the reconstruction, economic rehabilitation and development of the territory.

* The full reopening of all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, “taking into account the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.” This U.S.-brokered agreement between Israel and the PA was supposed to govern the operation of the crossings following Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Strip.

The document also proposed establishing an international monitoring and verification mission, whose job would include monitoring implementation of the above principles, investigating and reporting cease-fire violations to both parties and to the Security Council, facilitating the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza and serving as a liaison between the parties to the cease-fire “to ensure effective communications” between them.

The document’s other provisions included asking the UN secretary-general to draft a plan to help the PA establish “effective governance” in Gaza; urging UN member states to contribute to Gaza’s reconstruction, inter alia by calling an international conference on the issue and urging them to help the PA to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza and increase the capabilities of its security forces.

The final paragraph of the document, which deals with the resumption Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, is one of the most important and sensitive sections of the proposal. It calls for “renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to resume the negotiations in order to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of two democratic States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side on the basis of the pre-1967 borders in peace and security.”

Ever since the fighting in Gaza began, Jordan has been pushing for passage of a Security Council resolution to end the war. But since its draft resolution was one-sided, and called for establishing an international inquiry commission to investigate alleged Israeli attacks on UN facilities in Gaza, the United States blocked it, with support from the three European Security Council members. Washington’s main argument was that a Security Council resolution would undermine the talks taking place in Egypt on a cease-fire deal.

After the indirect talks between Israel and Hamas collapsed earlier this week, however, Germany, France and Britain decided to push for a Security Council resolution themselves — but one that would be more balanced and would satisfy many of Israel’s security demands. This initiative has won support from other council members, including Australia, and the United States is also leaning toward backing it.

“The question isn’t whether there will be a Security Council resolution to end the war in Gaza, the question is only when it will happen,” said one European diplomat involved in the talks on the matter.

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