UNITED NATIONS 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 and militants kept up cross-border rocket fire while Israel moved to cushion its economy against 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.
Israel launched its latest offensive against Gaza on July 8 to halt missile salvoes by Hamas militants, who have been angered by a crackdown on its supporters in the occupied West Bank and suffering economic hardship because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza.
Egypt has been acting as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, 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. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007.
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.
(Additional reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)