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The United Nations Security Council is poised to vote on a resolution Tuesday demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, despite a promised veto by the United States. Algeria, representing Arab nations on the council, submitted the urgent resolution before the international body.

Egypt is strongly backing the ceasefire call. Concerns in Cairo are particularly high amidst growing fears of an intensification of Israeli ground operations, especially those near Rafah in southern Gaza. An escalation there could further worsen the catastrophic humanitarian plight of Gaza’s Palestinian population, said Egypt’s Foreign Ministry.

The latest draft resolution to be voted upon in the United Nations Security Council echoes growing demands, voiced repeatedly by Arab countries in the United Nations, for a ceasefire as Israel’s offensive enters its fifth month. The draft insists on “scrupulous” observance of international law governing the protection of civilians as the death toll in Gaza quickly climbs past 28,000 killed.

The resolution also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Israelis held by Hamas and other factions in Gaza.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield asserted America’s opposition to the draft, arguing it could undermine existing ceasefire efforts. A multi-nation negotiation including Egypt and Qatar continues on a separate US-backed proposal focusing on securing the captives’ release while establishing a period of calm conducive to long-term peace initiatives.

Since Israel’s launch of military operations in Gaza in October 2023, the Security Council has passed two other resolutions – both with US abstentions. Neither achieved direct cessation of hostilities but called for access to essential humanitarian aid. The current Algerian draft is viewed as a more decisive push to force a halt to the violence.

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