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US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Greenfield-Thomas addresses a meeting of the Security Council as they consider a US-sponsored resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, on March 22, 2024.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

China and Russia veto US cease-fire resolution for Gaza

Yet another Gaza cease-fire resolution failed in the UN Security Council today – though the US was not responsible for blocking it this time. China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution urging for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war in connection with a hostage deal.

Beijing and Moscow’s ambassadors seemingly took issue with the language of the resolution, contending it didn’t go far enough to demand a cease-fire. The US resolution “sets up conditions for a ceasefire, which is no different from giving a green light to continued killings, which is unacceptable,” said Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN.

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President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn to Marine One to start his trip from the White House to New York City.

Biden says cease-fire deal is just around the corner

As the war in Gaza nears its 5-month mark, US President Joe Biden says he hopes to have a temporary cease-fire in Gaza within the week. The proposed deal would involve aid deliveries to Gaza in exchange for the release of roughly 40 Oct. 7 hostages.
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Palestinians leave Rafah in fear of an Israeli military operation in the southern Gaza Strip, on Feb. 13, 2024.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israeli strikes in Lebanon revive concerns about widening war

Israel launched airstrikes in Lebanon on Wednesday, killing at least 10 civilians, in response to a suspected Hezbollah rocket attack that killed an Israeli soldier. Hezbollah on Thursday said Israel would "pay the price for these crimes."

The US raised alarm about the potential for escalation and pushed for a diplomatic resolution to the tensions.

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Paige Fusco

Graphic Truth: What would Ukrainians give up for peace?

Ukraine is days away from marking the second anniversary of Russia’s 2022 invasion. The war is largely stalemated, with few changes to the battlefield map in recent months. Ukrainian troops are engaged in brutal trench warfare reminiscent of World War I but with the added nightmare of deadlier modern weaponry and technology. After enjoying strong, steady support from its Western allies in the first year and a half of the war, Kyiv now faces a constant struggle to keep aid flowing in as it runs short on supplies and faces manpower issues. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of backing down despite the myriad political, economic, and societal consequences the war has had for Russia.

But none of that is undermining Ukraine’s resolve. New polling from the Munich Security Conference shows that Ukrainians are strongly opposed to any cease-fire framework that would require Kyiv to cede territory to Russia — particularly Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. This suggests that Ukrainians are largely aligned with their government, which has pushed for a peace plan that would see Russia withdraw troops from occupied territories and recognize Ukraine’s 1991 post-Soviet borders. Moscow has scoffed at this proposal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is welcomed upon arriving at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.

Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

Blinken swims against current to push for Gaza truce

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is touring the Middle East this week – his fifth visit since Oct. 7 – to continue Washington’s push for a new truce in the Gaza war. The US and its Arab partners back a deal that would involve a temporary pause in the fighting to open the door for the release of more hostages from Gaza.
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Protesters hold signs demanding the liberation of hostages being held in the Gaza Strip after they were seized by Hamas gunmen on Oct. 7, in Tel Aviv, on Nov. 21, 2023, just hours before the announcement of a four-day cease-fire.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel and Hamas: A cease-fire, if you can keep it

Well, we were told to ignore all rumors about a hostage release deal until something was announced officially, so we did.

But now it’s for real: Late Wednesday, Israel’s cabinet approved a limited cease-fire with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of some of the roughly 240 hostages that Hamas abducted during its Oct. 7 rampage through southern Israel. The deal was brokered with help from the US and Qatar.

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People hold a placard in a demonstration demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, in Paris, France, on Nov. 11, 2023.

REUTERS/Claudia Greco

The debate over a “cease-fire” for Gaza

There have been growing calls across the globe for a cease-fire in Gaza. Meanwhile, some world leaders have called for humanitarian pauses.

Here’s a breakdown of what these terms mean:

What’s a cease-fire? This is when warring parties agree to set down their weapons and stop fighting for an extended period of time. It typically involves negotiations and could pave the way for a permanent political settlement.

What’s a humanitarian pause? This is briefer and less comprehensive than a cease-fire. It effectively means hitting the pause button on a conflict for a short period – for days or even just hours – to allow people to escape a conflict zone and/or to let aid flow into the area.

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