Hamas, Palestinian authority welcome UN Security Council resolution for Gaza ceasefire

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

CAIRO (Reuters) -The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, its ally the Islamic Jihad group and the rival Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas’s welcomed a U.N. Security Council resolution backing a proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In its statement, Hamas said it was ready to cooperate with mediators over implementing the principles of the plan.

Hamas earlier on Monday said it was only willing to accept a deal that would secure an end to the war in Gaza while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was determined to pursue war against Hamas.

"Hamas welcomes what is included in the Security Council resolution that affirmed the permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the complete withdrawal, the prisoners' exchange, the reconstruction, the return of the displaced to their areas of residence, the rejection of any demographic change or reduction in the area of the Gaza Strip, and the delivery of needed aid to our people in the Strip," the militant group said in a statement.

U.S. President Joe Biden outlined the truce accord last month and it envisions a ceasefire in stages, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war. But Israel has said it will agree only to temporary pauses until Hamas is defeated, while Hamas has countered it will not accept a deal that does not guarantee the war will end.

With the conflict in its ninth month, the plan got further backing on Monday from the United Nations where 14 members of the Security Council adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution in favour of the proposal while Russia abstained.

Separately, the Islamic Jihad said early on Tuesday that it looks "positively" to what the resolution included, "especially in terms of opening the door to reaching a comprehensive cessation of aggression and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces" from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas also said it was willing to engage in indirect negotiations over implementing the principles "that are consistent with the demands of our people and resistance."

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Presidency welcomed the resolution saying the presidency "is with any resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and preserves Palestinian land unity".

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s eight-month-old assault on the Gaza Strip, say health officials in the Hamas-ruled enclave. The war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and abducting some 250 others, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Nidal Al Maghrabi, additional reporting by Ali Sawafta writing by Hatem Maher and Yomna Ehab; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)