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UN General Assembly demands immediate Gaza ceasefire with overwhelming majority

While resolution is non-binding it sends a strong signal

United Nations General Assembly on ceasefire resolution in Gaza, in New York City, US, December 12, 2023 (Photo: Screenshot from The Guardian YouTube channel)

The UN General Assembly demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire of the war in Gaza between Israel and the terror organization Hamas, in a resolution that passed with an overwhelming majority on Tuesday night.

The resolution called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” without mentioning the Hamas terrorists who started the war by invading Israel on Oct. 7. Members voted down two amendments specifically referencing Hamas that were not included in the final draft.

The motion was passed with a large majority of 153 in favor and 10 against, with 23 abstentions. A resolution by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) is non-binding but can serve as an indicator of international opinion, which has been shifting against Israel for some time now.

In addition to the U.S. and Israel, only eight other countries, namely Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Paraguay opposed the motion.

Even nations that have loudly proclaimed their support of Israel since Oct. 7 didn't vote against the resolution, choosing instead to abstain, foremost among them Germany and the United Kingdom.

The German Foreign Ministry explained its decision in a thread on X, formerly Twitter.

“A ‘no’ to the current resolution would be false: Because we want to end the Palestinians' suffering. Therefore we want humanitarian pauses, so that the hostages will be freed. So that the urgently needed help reaches the people in Gaza.”

Other nations seen as friendly to Israel, like France and Greece, voted for the resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

The paper was authored by Egypt and expressed “grave concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population.”

In addition, it called to protect both Israeli and Palestinian civilians and demanded the immediate release of “all hostages.”

One of the rejected drafts, authored by U.S. representatives, would have inserted a paragraph stating that the UNGA “unequivocally rejects and condemns the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas.” Austria proposed another draft that would have called for the immediate release of hostages by Hamas.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan emphatically rejected the call for a ceasefire.

“A ceasefire means one thing and one thing only — ensuring the survival of Hamas, ensuring the survival of genocidal terrorists committed to the annihilation of Israel and Jews,” he said before the vote.

“You want a real ceasefire?” Erdan shouted during the meeting while holding up a sign with the picture of Yahya Sinwar, Gaza's Hamas leader who is considered the mastermind of the Oct. 7 massacre. Sinwar's telephone number was posted on the sign.

“Call the Hamas offices in Gaza and ask for Yahya Sinwar. Tell him that when Hamas lays down its weapons, he turns himself in and returns all the hostages, then there will be a real ceasefire that will last forever,” Erdan told the assembly.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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