The United Nations Security Council is poised to vote on a U.S.-drafted cease-fire proposal aimed at halting eight months of intense conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. This critical vote, which could bring a temporary reprieve from the ongoing violence, follows a week of negotiations among the 15-member council and is expected to pass with the necessary nine votes in favor, provided no vetoes from the U.S., France, Britain, China, or Russia.

Diplomatic sources indicate that neither Russia nor China are likely to block the resolution. This marks a significant shift from earlier this year when China and Russia opposed a Gaza cease-fire resolution, citing concerns it would enable further Israeli military actions. The U.S. had previously vetoed three draft resolutions, two of which called for an immediate cease-fire.

President Joe Biden, who played a pivotal role in drafting the proposal, announced on May 31 that Israel had outlined a three-part plan aimed at achieving a permanent cease-fire in Gaza and securing the release of hostages taken during Hamas's surprise attack on Israel on October 7. According to Gaza health authorities, the conflict has resulted in over 36,000 Palestinian deaths, including thousands of women and children.

Nate Evans, spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the U.N., emphasized the importance of the Security Council's role in urging Hamas to agree to the proposal. "Israel has accepted this proposal, and the Security Council has an opportunity to speak with one voice and call on Hamas to do the same," he stated.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent actions suggest that Israel may not fully endorse the cease-fire proposal. Following a dramatic rescue operation that freed four hostages but resulted in significant Palestinian casualties, Netanyahu's determination to continue the military campaign in Gaza appears unwavering. This stance is further complicated by internal political dynamics, including the resignation of retired Gen. Benny Gantz from Israel's war cabinet, citing Netanyahu's mismanagement of the war and lack of a post-conflict plan for Gaza.

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel to address these issues, he faces the challenge of persuading Netanyahu to reconsider his position. Blinken, who has already met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi-a key mediator with Hamas-continues to advocate for the cease-fire plan, which he argues is the "single best way" to secure peace and stability in the region.

"If you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say 'yes,'" Blinken urged, emphasizing the widespread international support for the plan. Despite the complexities, Blinken remains hopeful that a resolution can be reached, though he acknowledges the obstacles posed by both Israeli and Hamas hardliners.

The three-phase plan proposed by Israel includes the release of more hostages, a temporary pause in hostilities to negotiate a full cease-fire, and a comprehensive post-conflict reconstruction plan for Gaza. The Security Council's vote on Monday will be a crucial step in determining the future of this plan.

While the international community watches closely, the situation on the ground remains dire. Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict began, with many more facing severe shortages of food, medicine, and other essentials. U.N. agencies warn that more than one million people in Gaza could experience extreme starvation by mid-July.

Blinken's visit to the region, which includes stops in Jordan and Qatar, underscores the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In Jordan, he will participate in an emergency international conference focused on improving the flow of aid to the beleaguered territory.