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US to Veto United Nations Gaza Ceasefire Resolution, Propose Own Draft

The Israeli military said on Tuesday (February 20) that fierce fighting broke out in the Khan Younis area of ​​the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is preparing to vote on a resolution drafted by Algeria calling for an immediate ceasefire, increased aid access, and a rejection of forced evictions of Palestinians.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has stated that the United States will use its Security Council veto to block the passage of this resolution (the United Nations Gaza Ceasefire Resolution). She said the resolution risked hurting mediation efforts.

Before the Security Council vote, the United States circulated a draft resolution it had drafted among members of the Security Council. The draft emphasizes the release of hostages held by Hamas and the “urgent need for a workable plan” to protect civilians if Israel attacks Rafah, according to a text seen by the media.

The U.S. proposal “stresses that such a major ground offensive should not be launched under current circumstances” and “rejects any other forcible eviction of Gaza’s civilian population.”

The United States has not set a timetable for when it will submit the draft to the Security Council. A senior official said the United States wanted to give the Security Council time to negotiate the wording of the draft text and did not intend to call for a vote immediately.

Negotiations involving the United States, Egypt, and Qatar have been going on for weeks but have failed to reach an agreement to cease-fire in Gaza and secure the release of hostages.

MUST READ: ☞  Hamas Hostages Crisis: In-Depth Analysis of Gaza Strip Tensions and Global Repercussions

Israel has warned that it will launch an attack on Rafah, located in southern Gaza on the border with Egypt, where 1.5 million Palestinian civilians are currently sheltering from the war.

Israeli officials said the battle in Rafah was necessary to eliminate Hamas elements there. Israeli officials also mentioned evacuating civilians there but did not provide any detailed plans.

United Nations officials have repeatedly stated that there are no safe areas in Gaza for civilians.

Egypt has refused to evacuate Palestinians into its territory, saying it would constitute forced evictions of Palestinians. Israel denies such plans.

Satellite images show that Egypt has begun building a high-security buffer zone near its border with Gaza to prevent large influxes of people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it led an operation to evacuate 32 critically ill patients from Khan Younis Nasser Medical Center “amidst ongoing fighting and restricted movement.”

The WHO said hospital staff requested the patients be evacuated after an Israeli military attack on the hospital last week left the medical facility “inoperable.”

“The dismantling and destruction of the Al-Nasser Medical Center is a huge blow to Gaza’s health system. Medical facilities in southern Gaza are already stretched beyond capacity and simply cannot accommodate any more patients,” WHO said in a statement.

“WHO reiterates its call to protect patients, health workers, health infrastructure, and civilians. Hospitals must not be militarized, abused, or attacked.”

After Hamas militants invaded southern Israel on October 7 and killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli statistics, and kidnapped about 250 people as hostages, the Israeli army began a military operation to annihilate Hamas. Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Britain, and the European Union, is still believed to be holding about 130 hostages in Gaza, 30 of whom are believed to be dead.

MUST READ: ☞  Netanyahu rejects Hamas ceasefire plan, vows 'absolute victory'

Israel on Monday released a video of hostage Shiri Bibas and her two young sons, four-year-old Ariel and nine-month-old Kfir. Video of being led along a dirt road in Khan Younis shortly after being kidnapped on October 7. The child’s father, Yardan Bibas, is also a hostage still being held.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the video was discovered from security cameras captured during the attack on Khan Younis.

According to statistics from the Hamas-controlled Gaza health department, Israeli military operations have killed 29,195 Palestinians and injured another 69,170.

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