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Algeria drafts UN resolution to end Israeli offensive in Rafah

United Nations, United States | May 29, 2024, Wednesday @ 16:23 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 1878
Algeria drafts UN resolution to end Israeli offensive in Rafah

Palestinians flee the area of Tal al-Sultan in Rafah with their belongings following renewed Israeli strikes in the city in the southern Gaza Strip on May 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

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Algeria has presented a draft resolution to UN Security Council members calling for an end to Israel's offensive in Rafah and an "immediate ceasefire," according to a draft text seen by AFP.

Defying pressure from the United States and other western countries, Israel has been conducting military operations in Rafah, which is packed with people who have fled fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

The draft resolution, which draws on last week's ruling by the International Court of Justice, "decides that Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah."

It also "demands an immediate ceasefire respected by all parties, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

During its October 7 cross-border attack on Israel, which triggered the war, Hamas militants took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Algeria called an urgent UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday after an Israeli strike killed 45 people at a tent camp in Rafah for displaced people on Sunday, drawing international condemnation.

A civil defense official in Gaza said another Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah on Tuesday killed at least 21 more people.

Algeria's UN Ambassador Amar Bendjama has not specified when he hopes to put the draft resolution to a vote.

"We hope that it could be done as quickly as possible because life is in the balance," said Chinese ambassador Fu Cong, expressing hope for a vote this week.

"It's high time for this council to take action. This is a matter of life and death. This is a matter of emergency," the French ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said before the council meeting.

The council has struggled to find a unified voice since the war broke out with the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, followed by Israel's retaliatory campaign.

After passing two resolutions centered on the need for humanitarian aid to people in Gaza, in March the council passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire -- an appeal that had been blocked several times before by the United States, Israel's main ally.

Washington, increasingly frustrated with how Israel is waging the war and its mounting civilian death toll, finally allowed that resolution to pass by abstaining from voting.

But the White House said Tuesday that Israel's offensive in Rafah had not amounted to the type of full-scale operation that would breach President Joe Biden's "red lines," and said it had no plans to change its policy toward Israel.

Asked about the new Algerian draft resolution, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, "we're waiting to see it and then we'll react to it."

© Agence France-Presse

 

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