Europeans in push for new UN resolution on Gaza

UNITED NATIONS- Britain, France and Germany have put forward key points of a new UN Security Council resolution on Gaza in a fresh bid to end six weeks of violence, diplomats said Thursday.
The European initiative came as fighting flared on the ground, with Israeli airstrikes killing three top Hamas commanders and an Egyptian-led effort to broker peace talks teetering on the verge of collapse.

The two-page document obtained by AFP calls for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire that would put an end to the firing of rockets and military operations in the Gaza Strip.
It calls for a lifting of the Israeli blockade and a monitoring mechanism to report on ceasefire violations and verify the flow of goods into the Gaza Strip.
Diplomats said the text was aimed at advancing efforts to reach agreement within the 15-member council on a resolution after Jordan's draft text met with resistance, notably from the United States.
The so-called "elements" document lays out the parameters for a ceasefire deal that would address Israel's security concerns and meet Palestinian demands.
It instructs UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately come up with proposals to "implement the relevant provisions" in a move that could jump-start the peace negotiations.
UN diplomats said they hoped the initiative would shore up the Egyptian-led peace track and lead to a lasting ceasefire that would avoid a relapse into war in the future.
"We are getting positive messages from the region that this could be helpful," a diplomatic source told AFP.
It remained unclear, however, when a new draft resolution could emerge with diplomats emphasizing that discussions were at a preliminary stage.
"We have been talking about ideas and sharing thoughts and we are still working out what the next steps are," said a diplomat.
More than 2,083 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict that began on July 8, most of them civilians, according to UN officials.
The European-drafted document calls for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, which has been under Hamas control for the past seven years.
It provides for the lifting of economic and humanitarian restrictions on the Gaza Strip to allow for a massive reconstruction effort, and for the re-opening of border crossings.
An international monitoring and verification mission would be established with a mandate to report on ceasefire violations and check the flow of goods into Gaza -- a key point missing from the Jordanian draft resolution.
UN officials have said the devastation caused by the last weeks of conflict is far worse than during the 2008-2009 war.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged international help to rebuild Gaza but warned that this would be "for the last time" after three wars in six years.

Friday, August 22nd 2014

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