After 171 days of intense Israeli attacks on Gaza, the United Nations Security Council has finally approved a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the region, with the United States choosing to abstain from voting. This resolution, while a positive step forward, only calls for a temporary cease-fire lasting until the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Despite the lack of direct enforcement mechanisms for U.N. resolutions, this move is seen as a key step towards more serious negotiations.

Hamas, although not a recognized state, welcomed the U.N. resolution, while Israel rejected it and canceled a planned trip to Washington to discuss military plans. Previous negotiations in Doha, Qatar, involving a U.S.-sponsored offer for a six-week humanitarian cease-fire, had been rejected by Hamas due to the lack of a permanent cease-fire provision. The language of the U.N. resolution, calling for a “lasting sustainable” cease-fire, seems to have provided a potential breakthrough for further negotiations.

The hope now is that the U.N. resolution will lead to longer-term solutions, with efforts underway to work on follow-up resolutions to prevent humanitarian crises in Gaza. The goal is to stop the ground offensive in Rafah and ratify the U.S.-backed cease-fire agreement to facilitate the exchange of hostages and possibly lead to a permanent cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. These negotiations in Doha represent a critical opportunity for progress towards peace in the region.

While Israel’s rejection of the cease-fire resolution is disappointing, it is not entirely unexpected given the extremist views of its leadership. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of prolonging the conflict in hopes of achieving victory is unlikely to succeed in the face of Palestinian resistance to occupation. The international community, including the U.S., has pushed back against Netanyahu’s plans for further military action in Gaza, recognizing the need for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Although the U.N. resolution lacks strong enforcement measures, there is potential for follow-up resolutions that could impose sanctions on parties failing to comply. Israel’s defiance of international demands for a cease-fire and an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza could leave it vulnerable to such sanctions if it continues to disregard the calls for peace. The actions of Israel in the coming days will be closely monitored, and there will be consequences if it refuses to heed the demands for a negotiated settlement.

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and former professor, emphasizes the importance of ongoing negotiations in Doha and the need for all parties to work towards a lasting peace agreement. While the current U.N. resolution may be limited in scope, there is potential for further diplomatic action to address the root causes of the conflict and prevent further violence in Gaza. The international community must remain engaged in efforts to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and eventual resolution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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