UN General Assembly calls for ceasefire in Gaza war, with Israel and US objecting
Delegates at work at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (UN Photo:Manuel Elias)

By Ben Sales
December 13, 2023

(JTA) — The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, affirming a vote it took in late October calling for the fighting to end.

In the vote on Tuesday, 153 nations approved the ceasefire call and 23 abstained. Ten countries voted against the resolution, including Israel and the United States.

The resolution also called for the release of the more than 100 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, but did not mention or condemn the terror group. Its text said it was “Expressing grave concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population, and emphasizing that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

Israel opposes calls for a ceasefire in the war, which began when Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, because it would leave the terror group in power in the Gaza Strip. The United States has called on Israel to do more to avoid killing civilians, but has backed the war effort.

“Not only does this resolution fail to condemn Hamas for crimes against humanity, it does not mention Hamas at all. This will only prolong the death and destruction in the region, that is precisely what a ceasefire means,” Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan said in response to the vote.

The vote came after the United States vetoed a resolution on Friday calling for a ceasefire in the U.N. Security Council. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called for a ceasefire and invoked a U.N. article allowing him to raise a matter that he feels threatens international peace and security.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, more than 17,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, a number that doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants. Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre killed 1,200 Israelis, largely civilians, and more than 100 Israeli soldiers have since been killed in Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

The tally on Tuesday follows the Oct. 26 vote, in which 120 countries voted for a ceasefire and 14 voted against the resolution. In that vote, an amendment to condemn Hamas was voted down.

In both cases, a number of Pacific island nations voted with Israel and the United States. Those nations have sided with Israel at the U.N. for decades owing to Israel’s support for their independence and subsequent Israeli efforts to help develop their economies, according to VOA.

Leave a Reply