UN General Assembly calls for ‘humanitarian truce’ in Gaza

UN General Assembly calls for ‘humanitarian truce’ in Gaza

The UN General Assembly on Friday called by a large majority for an “immediate humanitarian truce” in Gaza, on the 21st day of the Israel-Hamas conflict as the Israeli army announced it was extending its ground operation into the shattered territory.

The non-binding resolution, criticized by Israel and the United States for failing to mention Hamas, received 120 votes in favor, 14 against and 45 abstentions from UN members.

Israel angrily dismissed the measure, and said the country would use “every means at our disposal” in confronting Hamas.

“Today is a day that will go down as infamy. We have all witnessed that the UN no longer holds even one ounce of legitimacy or relevance,” Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan said, telling the assembly: “Shame on you.”

“Israel will continue to defend itself. We will defend our future, our very existence by ridding the world of Hamas’s evil so that it can never threaten anyone else again,” he said.

Hamas meanwhile welcomed the call for a break in the conflict.

“We demand its immediate application to allow the entry of fuel and humanitarian aid for civilians,” said a Hamas statement.

The rival Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said that as Israel’s campaign “reaches a new peak of brutality,” there was “a solid international position rejecting Israel’s unhinged aggression”.

The text proposed by Jordan in the name of 22 Arab countries called for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.”

An earlier version called for an “immediate ceasefire.”

Jordan’s Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud, just before the vote, stressed that: “It is not merely our responsibility, but a profound moral obligation to champion the cause of peace.”

Israel has heavily bombarded Gaza since Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping over 220 others, according to Israeli officials.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, in an update on Friday, said the Israeli strikes had now killed 7,326 people, mainly civilians and many of them children.

The resolution co-sponsored by nearly 50 other countries centered largely on the dire humanitarian situation in sealed-off Gaza as Israel presses on with its bombardment.

The document urges “immediate” provision of water, food, medical supplies, fuel and electricity and unhindered access for UN and other humanitarian agencies trying to help the Palestinians.

The draft condemns “all acts of violence aimed at Palestinian and Israeli civilians, including all acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks” but it does not mention Hamas.

The resolution exposed a division within Western countries, with France voting for the measure; Germany, Italy and Britain abstaining; while Austria and the United States voted against.

“It is outrageous that this resolution fails to name the perpetrators of the October 7 terrorist attack,” US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Another key word missing in this resolution is hostage,” she added.

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