Europe, US mull UN resolution on Gaza truce

August 21, 2014 - 9:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — With Egyptian efforts to end the Gaza war collapsing, the United States, Britain, France and Germany are discussing a possible Security Council resolution calling for a sustainable cease-fire and an international monitoring mission to ensure its implementation, U.N. diplomats said Thursday.

Diplomats said the U.S., Israel's main ally, had joined the European effort to produce a resolution that would call for a ceasefire and advance the goal of a durable peace.

"This is not a competition," said an American diplomat in Washington. "We share with other Security Council members a concern over the return to hostilities following the breach of the Egyptian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire. And the council has called on all parties to prevent the situation from escalating and to resume negotiations."

Another diplomat said both Israeli and Palestinian officials have privately suggested Security Council action would be helpful in persuading their constituents to accept measures to end the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side.

"The message that we are getting from both sides is that it would be helpful to prescribe some elements to enable them to sell it internally," that diplomat said.

Diplomats said the resolution would include opening up Gaza's borders and a return of the Palestinian Authority to the territory, now controlled by Hamas. It would also include security assurances for the Israelis, including ways to prevent Hamas from acquiring more arms and building more tunnels. The resolution would incorporate a European Union offer to take charge of Gaza's border crossings.

The international monitoring and verification mission would likely be a joint UN-EU effort, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private and sensitive.

The diplomat said the three European countries have shared the elements of the possible resolution with council members, including Jordan, which has circulated its own resolution calling for a cease-fire. But the officials emphasized the discussions are in the early stages and there is no timeframe for introducing it.

Council members are wary of undermining efforts to revive the Egyptian-led talks. One diplomat said some members are also warning about unforeseen consequences of the U.N.'s most powerful body jumping in with a binding resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If either side violates the resolution, it could lead to calls for the Security Council to impose punitive measures "and some sort of escalation that is not in our interest," the diplomat said.

Jordan has circulated its own resolution calling for a cease-fire, condemning civilian casualties and an end to excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians.

Jordan's U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar told reporters Wednesday the proposal is still on the table "but we're taking our time to talk to the Americans, to the Europeans."

"There (are) some ideas circulating so we want to make sure that it incorporates everybody because the whole idea is to have a Security Council resolution that's effective," she said.

Other council diplomats say Jordan's support for any resolution is crucial. But one diplomat said the Jordanian proposal contains no security guarantees for Israel and "really doesn't say much about how we would sustain the peace."

"It is essentially a Palestinian draft that has been endorsed by the Arab Group," the diplomat said. "It's kind of burned already. Everyone knows it comes from the Palestinians."

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Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this story.