Israeli destroys more Gaza high-rises, U.S. works on new ceasefire draft

United States has begun preparing its own draft outline for a proposed United Nations resolution to demand a ceasefire, working alongside European powers and Jordan on a final draft, diplomats said.

Israeli destroys more Gaza high-rises, U.S. works on new ceasefire draft

World Bulletin/News Desk

The United States has prepared its own draft outline for a U.N. resolution demanding a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and is now working with European powers and Jordan on a joint text, diplomats said on Monday.

News of accelerated diplomacy on the sidelines of the U.N. Security Council came as Israeli air strikes killed at least nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a war now in its seventh week.

U.S. officials and diplomats from other U.N. member states said that Washington had presented a small group of countries with its own draft elements for a Security Council resolution after Jordan offered one last month and Britain, France and Germany wrote another ceasefire proposal last week.

"The U.S. has come up with its own draft," said one U.N. diplomat, who declined to be named. "It's quite different from the two others. Now they're working to combine the drafts and come up with a common text."

The U.S. officials and other diplomats declined to speak about details in the U.S. draft, though several said it was not acceptable on its own.

"We'll work on coming up with a single draft," another U.N. diplomat said. "What's important is that the Americans are engaging and there's a new momentum in pushing for a ceasefire resolution in the Security Council that would be better than previous ones."

An Israeli official said "this is still under negotiation" and that there was no draft ready yet for the Security Council. Diplomats said Israel received the draft over the weekend. Egypt is also being consulted.

U.N. diplomats said Washington and Israel appeared increasingly open to the idea of the council demanding a ceasefire.

Egypt has been acting as a mediator between Israel and Hamas since hostilities erupted last month. But ceasefire talks and a temporary truce recently broke down. U.N. diplomats said their work on elements for a resolution could help Egypt's efforts.

The British-French-German draft calls for creating a Gaza monitoring mission that would investigate and report ceasefire violations and aid the movement of people and goods to and from the blockaded Gaza region.

It also calls for restoring authority of the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, in Gaza.

Jordan presented a draft ceasefire resolution last month but it does not include a monitoring mechanism, which council diplomats say is one of the main flaws with a 2009 resolution passed by the council.

More Gaza towers attacked

Meanwhile, Israel bombed more of Gaza's tallest structures on Tuesday, bringing down a 13-storey apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.

The Israeli military, declining to comment specifically on the attacks that flattened the Basha Tower and wrecked the Italian Complex, said it attacked 15 "terror sites", including some in buildings that housed Hamas command and control centres.

Hamas accused Israel of an "unprecedented act of revenge against civilians" aimed at deterring Palestinians from supporting the movement.

A Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, said Egypt had proposed a new ceasefire and was waiting for Israel to respond.

Cairo's latest initiative, Palestinians officials said, called for an indefinite halt to hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the enclave's fishing zone in the Mediterranean

Under a second stage that would begin a month later, Israel and the Palestinians would discuss the construction of a Gaza sea port and an Israeli release of Hamas prisoners in the occupied West Bank, the officials said.

Speaking on Al-Arabiya television, Hamdan said: "Returning to negotiations must be linked to a position that includes guarantees and clear Israeli concessions."

Israel has now attacked three of Gaza's most prominent high-rise buildings since Saturday, when it destroyed the 13-storey Al Zafer Tower.

No fatalities were reported in those bombings, which were preceded by non-explosive warning missiles that sent residents fleeing. Twenty people were wounded in the attack on the Italian Complex building, and two others were killed in Israeli strikes elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, medical officials said.

Palestinian rocket fire damaged a house in the southern Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon, lightly wounding 10 people police said. Another rocket was intercepted over the Tel Aviv area, an army spokeswoman said.

Palestinian health officials say 2,125 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since July 8, when Israel launched the offensive. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

Thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict. Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no place is safe.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2014, 14:42

Muhammed Öylek