Israel avoids commenting on UNSC resolution after coming out against it last week

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Addressing the UN Security Council following its adoption of a US-drafted resolution calling on Hamas to accept the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal, Israel’s representative avoids commenting or expressing opposition to the initiative, which it had been voicing privately for several days.

While Ambassador Gilad Erdan was present for the start of today’s session, the Israeli response was delivered by career diplomat Reut Shafir Ben Naftali, in an apparent attempt to depoliticize the speech by not having a political appointee be the one to present it.

Ben Naftali doesn’t explicitly confirm that Israel has indeed accepted the latest hostage deal proposal, instead echoing points made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past week.

“From the very first days following Hamas’s invasion and brutal massacre on October 7th, Israel’s goals have been very clear: To bring all our hostages home and to dismantle Hamas’s capabilities. Israel is committed to these goals – to free all the hostages, destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, and ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future,” she says.

Netanyahu has avoided offering significant comment on the proposal, which hasn’t been fully released to the public and is being interpreted by some as allowing Hamas to remain in Gaza in some form, given that the proposal envisions a phase one temporary ceasefire with the terror group that is later turned permanent in its second phase.

Many of the ambassadors speaking before Ben Naftali welcomes the Israeli operation to release four hostages over the weekend, but also lamented the deaths of Palestinians during the firefight that ensued.

Addressing the issue, Ben Naftali highlights that the hostages were held in civilian homes guarded by terrorists. “These so-called innocent civilians were not only cooperating with the terrorists, but were complicit in their heinous crimes.”

“As the world witnessed on Saturday, Israeli soldiers sacrifice their lives to bring our hostages home, while Hamas intentionally sacrifices Gazan children to prevent us from rescuing our children. Israel regrets any harm to civilians, but it must be emphasized that Palestinians who cooperate with Hamas and take part in their war crimes – are not uninvolved,'” she adds, urging the international community to hold Hamas accountable.

Speaking after the session, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour welcomes the resolution, but says the onus is on Israel to implement it, even though Hamas has yet to even accept it.

Mansour also says that the Palestinians will continue “pursuing justice” against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

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