US, Europeans preparing draft for Security Council resolution on Gaza

Until late last week, there had been no movement on a council resolution since Jordan’s draft resolution was last revised in early August.

A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The US is developing elements for a UN Security Council resolution on the Gaza war in consultation with other council members, according to a State Department official.
Late last week, news leaked that European Council members were working on a document called “Elements,” in which they’re laying out the provisions they want to a see in a Security Council resolution.
Now the United States is doing the same.
After a Friday afternoon Security Council meeting on Ukraine, British Ambassador and council president Mark Lyall Grant told reporters that the UK, France, and Germany are discussing what elements a resolution should include, and that he hopes all council members will work together to draft a single document to be brought to the table in the next few days.
“We hope that the council will come together around a single draft resolution that can be adopted quickly. That is what we’re working on. That’s why we are not tabling our own resolution.
There is already a resolution that is on the table from Jordan. We don’t want to add to the confusion by tabling a resolution ourselves. But we have strong views on what needs to be included in any resolution,” he said.
Until late last week, there had been no movement on a council resolution since Jordan’s draft resolution was last revised in early August. After the ceasefire talks broke down in Egypt on Monday night, news leaked that European members were considering elements for a resolution that would establish an international coalition to ensure the proper execution of a council resolution on Gaza.
In January 2009, toward the end of Operation Cast Lead, the council passed Resolution 1860, which both sides of the conflict rejected, leading to concerns that the same thing might happen again.
The document “Elements,” which was leaked after truce talks broke down in Egypt, also calls on the secretary-general to develop plans to ensure that the resolution is respected.
The US has made clear that it would veto any effort to bring war crimes charges against Israel.
Last week, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said that she could not envision a scenario in which Washington would support a push to charge Israel with war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Absent from both the Jordanian draft resolution and the European coalition’s “Elements” document is mention of war crimes charges.
A copy of “Elements” obtained by the blog UN Report details how European member states would take part in helping to rebuild Gaza and to ensure all parties to the conflict adhere to the Security Council resolution by establishing “an international Monitoring and Verification Mission” with a mandate to guarantee that the parties communicate and adhere to the terms of a resolution and of a separate cease-fire agreement.
The monitoring coalition’s primary responsibilities would be to keep open lines of communication between the sides, as well between as humanitarian agencies tasked with rebuilding Gaza and alleviating the humanitarian crisis.
Additionally, the mission would ensure the flow of “persons and commercial goods to and from the Gaza Strip.”
European member states have considered proposing a draft resolution for some time, according to a Western diplomat who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of these negotiations. The diplomat noted that “Elements” is not a draft resolution.
“Elements” also says that European member states will press hard for a return of control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.
All council members support passing a resolution, PLO Ambassador Feda Abdelhady Nasser said. But they’re divided on timing. European countries and the US believe a resolution following a cease-fire agreement in Egypt would strengthen the truce, while Jordan and the PLO observer state contend the council has waited too long.
For weeks, the Jordanians have been trying to reach consensus on the wording of their draft resolution. Their efforts have not gained much traction or support within the council.
Now nearly three weeks old, many feel the language is outdated.
Last week, truce talks fell apart in Cairo after Hamas broke the temporary cease-fire and prompted a return to hostilities.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered his negotiators back to Israel. Two days later, news of the European countries’ “Elements” document leaked.