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UN Security Council adopts Gaza ceasefire resolution

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The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at reaching a comprehensive ceasefire deal in three phases to end the war in Gaza.

Adopted by a large majority of 14 votes in favor and Russia abstaining, Resolution 2735 also urges both parties to the conflict to fully implement the terms of the proposal “without delay and without condition.”

According to the resolution, phase one includes an “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.”

It calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from “populated areas” of Gaza, the return of Palestinians to their homes and neighborhoods throughout the enclave, including in the north, as well as the safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance at scale.

Phase two would see a permanent end to hostilities “in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

In phase three, “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza” would begin, and the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza would be returned to Israel.

The council also underlined the proposal’s provision that if negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the ceasefire will continue as long as talks continue.

The resolution says that Israel has “accepted” the deal and “calls upon” Hamas to do the same.

It also notes that the Security Council rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip, including any actions that reduce the territory of the enclave.

The text also reiterates the council’s “unwavering commitment” to the vision of the two-state solution where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions.

The resolution says that “in this regard stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”

Later on Monday, Hamas announced that it welcomes the resolution, saying that it’s ready to cooperate with the mediators to engage in indirect negotiations to implement resolution principles “that are consistent with the demands of our people and resistance,” including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the full withdrawal of Israeli forces, prisoner-hostage exchange and reconstruction.

The Palestinian presidency hailed the adoption of the resolution as a step in the right direction to stop the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported.

The Palestinian presidency also called on all parties to fulfill their responsibilities to implement the resolution.

China’s permanent representative to the United Nations Fu Cong said after voting in favor for the resolution that China calls for the immediate realization of an unconditional and lasting ceasefire and urges the sponsor to adopt a responsible attitude and make sincere efforts for the realization of an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Noting that there are still many ambiguities in the draft, Fu said China still has legitimate concerns about whether the main parties will accept the ceasefire proposal and whether the three-stage arrangement can be successfully transitioned.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, countered that the council was signing on to the plan without “details” and “giving a carte blanche.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the latest effort to halt the conflict, which is in its ninth month.

Since October 7, the conflict has killed at least 37,124 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The UN strongly urges all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians who are bearing the brunt of this conflict, particularly women and children. Everyone has obligations under international law. They must comply with those obligations, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told a daily press briefing on Monday.

Source(s): CGTN

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DPRK, Russia sign comprehensive strategic partnership agreement: KCNA

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The top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the president of Russia on Wednesday signed the Treaty on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership following their summit in Pyongyang, state media reported on Thursday.

The treaty was the culmination of the state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which also featured a bilateral summit meeting and private talks between him and Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the DPRK, as well as a welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square and a grand performance, among other high-profile events, according to multiple reports by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

In a joint statement, the DPRK top leader said the conclusion of the treaty put the relations of the two countries on a new higher stage – relations of alliance – calling it “the most powerful treaty in the history of the DPRK-Russia relations,” the KCNA reported.

The Russian president said the treaty is an “actual breakthrough document” reflecting the desire of the two countries to put bilateral ties on a new level, the report said.

The treaty includes a clause stipulating mutual support if one of the signatories to the treaty is invaded, and Russia “does not rule out military technical cooperation with the DPRK under the treaty,” the KCNA said.

The top leaders had a “tete-a-tete” which lasted for more than two hours, during which they reached a consensus on building a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and came to a “satisfactory” agreement on defending regional and global peace and international justice and on the matters of immediate cooperation, the KCNA reported.

Prior to the private conversation, the two sides held an extended bilateral meeting involving senior officials from both countries, where Kim hailed Putin’s visit as an event of strategic significance in developing the DPRK-Russia good-neighborly relations, and reaffirmed “the full support and solidarity of the DPRK government and people to the Russian government and people as regards the special military operations in Ukraine,” the KCNA said.

In addition to the treaty, the two governments signed agreements concerning the construction of a motorcar bridge over the River Tuman on their shared border and bilateral cooperation in the fields of public health, medical education and science, the KCNA said.

Also on Wednesday, the DPRK side awarded Putin the Order of Kim Il Sung, the highest medal of honor of the country, and hosted a banquet in his honor, the KCNA reported.

Putin concluded his state visit and left the DPRK capital on Wednesday night, as Kim took senior DPRK officials to Pyongyang International Airport to see him off, it added.

Source(s): CGTN

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The World Demands Justice for Palestine

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In the latest conflict between Palestine and Israel which has consumed more than 36,000 lives in the ceaseless bombing and crossfire during the past eight months, the international community has shown unprecedented solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and dignity. From celebrities to politicians, from human rights activists to students, many around the world have expressed their support for the Palestinian people.

A subtle but powerful gesture of solidarity was made recently on the red carpet of the Palais des Festival in Cannes, France. Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett lifted the hem of her dress, the colors of which against the red carpet resembled that of the Palestinian flag. Blanchett, who is also a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, has been a vocal advocate for the rights of refugees. Last November, she spoke at the European parliament, “I am not from Israel or Palestine. I am not a politician. I am not even a pundit. But I am a witness, and having witnessed the human cost of war, violence and persecution visiting refugees from across the globe, I cannot look away.”

Her feelings and her conscience is shared by many. Indeed, countries around the world are choosing not to look away. Global support for Palestine was seen in the historic and courageous decision of Norway, Spain and Ireland to recognize the State of Palestine on May 22. This reflected the growing consensus among European

countries that the two-State solution is the only viable way to end the conflict and achieve peace. The three countries also called on other European countries to follow their example.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel have found themselves increasingly isolated and condemned by the international community for their aggression and violations of international law. The U.S. is facing a crisis of conscience within its own borders. Several U.S. officials resigned over the government’s policy on Gaza, which they considered to be biased and immoral. Lily Greenberg Call, the first Jewish appointee to resign from the Biden administration over the war in Gaza, wrote in her resignation letter that she could not “in good conscience continue to represent” the administration. Veteran State Department official Stacy Gilbert resigned because the administration is “twisting the facts” to justify continued U.S. military support to Israel. Annelle Sheline, a former State Department official, said she quit the agency because she thinks the President “must know what’s happening to people in Gaza, and yet the policy doesn’t change.”

Israel has been denounced by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Human Rights Council, and many countries for its war crimes and violations of international law. The prosecutor of the ICC has applied for arrest warrants for two senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, for their involvement in the military operations. The Human Rights Council has launched an investigation into the human rights violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory. Many countries have condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and some have imposed sanctions and boycotts on Israel, such as Türkiye, South Africa, and Malaysia.

In March this year, U.S. President Joe Biden set a red line by stating that if Israel goes into Rafah, “we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used.” Then, when Israel bombed the Rafah refugee camp on May 26, the Biden administration decided that Israel did not cross the “red line”, keeping the greenlight on for U.S. military aid to Israel. Since October 7, a number of high-ranking U.S. officials have come out posturing on the issue, apparently raising concerns over Israel’s tactics but again repeating the rhetoric of “Israel’s right to defend itself” and paying lip service to “the need for a two-State solution” without taking any concrete action to stop Israeli aggression. Instead, they have vetoed or blocked U.N. resolutions that would hold Israel accountable, give Palestine full U.N. membership or facilitate an early ceasefire.

The world stands with Palestine in its quest for peace and justice. This is no longer a regional issue, but an issue of universal human values. The U.S. and Israel must face the consequences of their policies and actions, which have provoked the wrath and condemnation of the world. The time has come for the U.S. and Israel to change course and respect the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

Source(s): see.news / Xin Ping

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Netanyahu disbands war cabinet as pressure grows on Israel’s north

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the six-member war cabinet, an Israeli official said on Monday, in a widely expected move following the departure from government of centrist former general Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu is now expected to hold consultations about the Gaza war with a small group of ministers, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer who had been in the war cabinet.

The move was announced as U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein visited Jerusalem, seeking to calm the situation on the disputed border with Lebanon, where Israel said tensions with Hezbollah were bringing the region close to a wider conflict.

The Israeli military said on Monday it had killed a senior operative in one of Hezbollah’s rocket and missile sections in the area of Selaa in southern Lebanon.

The military also said its operations were continuing in the southern parts of the Gaza Strip, where its forces have been battling Hamas fighters in the Tel Sultan area of western Rafah, as well as in central areas of the enclave.

Hochstein’s visit follows weeks of increasing exchanges of fire across the line between Israel and Lebanon, where Israeli forces have for months been engaged in a simmering conflict with Hezbollah that has continued alongside the war in Gaza.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes on both sides of the so-called Blue Line that divides the two countries, leaving eerily deserted areas of abandoned villages and farms hit by near-daily bombardment.

“The current state of affairs is not a sustainable reality,” government spokesperson David Mencer told a briefing.

Netanyahu had faced demands from the nationalist-religious partners in his coalition, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, to be included in the war cabinet. Such a move would have intensified strains with international partners including the United States.

The forum was formed after Gantz joined Netanyahu in a national unity government at the start of the Gaza war in October. It also included Gantz’s political partner Gadi Eisenkot and Aryeh Deri, head of the religious party Shas, as observers.

Gantz and Eisenkot both left the government last week, over what they said was Netanyahu’s failure to form a strategy for the Gaza war.

Source(s): CGTN

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